INSTITUTIONAL AND LEARNER READINESS FOR E-LEARNING IN THE MALDIVES

F. Thaufeega, N. Crowe, M. Watts

Brunel University London (UNITED KINGDOM)
One of the most pervasive ways of expanding higher education to masses is through e-learning. Maldives being an island nation scattered with over 1190 islands, e-learning would be an ideal form of delivery for students on remote islands. The purpose of this study is to explore Maldivian institutes and college students’ e-learning readiness. The research is a mixed-method research conducted employing questionnaires (quantitative) and semi-structured interviews (qualitative). About 120 students from two private higher education institutes filled questionnaires and 10 students selected for interviews. Similarly, about 50 lecturers/facilitators filled a separate questionnaire to obtain teacher/institute readiness for on-line learning/teaching.

The key aim of the study is to explore whether Maldivian higher education students and institutes are ready for e-learning. Students’ technological skills, access to technology and learning abilities for e-learning as well as their level of e-learning efficacy are measured. Their lifestyle and family and workplace environments’ conduciveness for e-learning are explored. Lecturers/facilitators’ readiness is measured by their skill and ability to support e-learning.

The importance of the three elements of the Community of Inquiry Framework (Cognitive Presence, Teaching Presence and Social Presence) in e-learning is also explored through questionnaires. The study’s findings are significant in that this is the first research of its kind in the Maldives, and the results of the study could provide a convincing case in support of initiating e-learning in higher education colleges. The research is designed to support transferability of the findings to similar colleges and in the Maldivian context.
keywords: readiness, e-learning.