INVESTIGATING THE CRITICAL EFFECTS ON E-LEARNING ON FIRST YEAR STUDENTS: A CASE STUDY OF BUSINESS AND INFORMATION MANAGEMENT STUDENTS

K. Ngwane, A. Mnguni

Durban University of Technology (SOUTH AFRICA)
As a result of the advances in Information and Communication Technology, ThinkLearnZone (DUT's online e-Learning Management System) has been integrated as an essential element in Teaching and Learning. This has motivated the researchers to study the reasons for failure and success and the critical factors that affect ThinkLearnZone. This research attempts to investigate the factors that influence the use of ThinkLearnZone and the most appropriate framework for Business and Information Management First year students at the Durban University of Technology. We will be using the platform for the first time at a Higher Education Institution. The research adopted a quantitative approach to examine students’ perceptions of critical factors effecting the efficient use of ThinkLearnZone. A total of 95 respondents completed the survey-based questionnaire.

The results revealed that there are factors which influence the success of ThinkLearnZone. These are: students’ characteristics (computer skills, motivation and attitudes); Lecturers’ characteristics (attitudes, control of technology, previous schooling); technology (quality of technology and effectiveness of infrastructure); design and content (perceived ease of use and usefulness of content). In addition, the findings show that there are some differences in perceptions amongst teacher’s specialisation.

Where workshops and training programmes are not provided accordingly for students, the lecturer’s perception or believe that the various social media and networking sites that students participate in having led to the belief that students are all advance in technology.

Similarly, the findings show that there are some differences in perception amongst students according to gender, Secondary specialisation and level of study (years in school).

The main contribution of this research is that it addresses the success of ThinkLearnZone in the First year of studying in the Durban University of Technology. The proposed conceptual framework contributes to the knowledge of e-learning (ThinkLearnZone) success.