Ghana Technology University College (GHANA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 3412-3421
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
Personal mobile computing devices (Smartphones, iPads, Tablet PCs etc.), coupled with wireless communication technologies, are creating a wide array of new possibilities for technology users. For educators, the general view is that, delivering instruction seamlessly through these mobile devices and technologies should be of benefit to students, as learning can be personalized and also made readily accessible through devices that are in their direct control. Mobile learning (or m-learning) processes therefore have the potential of enhancing learning through increased learner engagement, attention and participation in instructional and collaborative activities.

Mobile learning however is still very much in its infancy in higher education, particularly in Sub-Saharan African higher education. This is not surprising, given that instructional design, pedagogical and best practice frameworks of m-learning are still being developed, while no clear standards presently exist for guiding the design and development of learning initiatives that take into account the different kinds of mobile technology platforms available. Challenges also exist from the user perspective, for example, the small screen sizes, limited processing powers and graphical limitations of most mobile devices means instructors and learners might be spending more than necessary time searching for and accessing information.

Within the context of these challenges, one cannot be certain the extent to which instructors and learners are willing to accept m-learning as a viable means of delivering quality learning experiences. Interestingly however, several higher education institutions are hoping to mainstream m-learning into their educational practices by first providing instructors and students with mobile computing devices (tablet computers in particular) and accompanying software applications, but rarely carry out evaluation studies to help predict and explain user acceptance, usability and usage levels of these devices for m-learning etc. Since instructor acceptance is a crucial factor in the success of a technology based educational initiative, such studies have the potential of providing critical feedback that can help guide institutions pursue appropriate corrective steps as they make the inevitable transition to m-learning in the not too distant future.

Against this backdrop, and following the distribution of a customized tablet computer to instructors in one Ghanaian higher education institution, this study used aspects of the classical Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) to predict instructor acceptance, as well as their actual use of a tablet computer (tablet PC) for mobile learning in the institution. The study assessed instructor perceptions, attitudes, intentions to, and actual use of the tablet PC to deploy and manage mobile learning initiatives in their respective fields. Thirty two (32) instructors participated in the study. Findings show that instructor intentions to, and actual use of the tablet PC for mobile learning are quite minimal, and are significantly influenced by their perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, attitude towards the device, and the facilitating conditions. Implications of these findings for practice and further research are discussed within the context of the adoption of tablet PCs for mobile learning within the Ghanaian higher education context in particular, and the developing world in general.
Mobile Learning, m-learning, Tablet PC, Ghana Technology University College, Campus Companion, Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), Instructors.