Predictors of perceived importance and acceptance of digital delivery modes in higher education

Anne Mertens, Joachim Stöter, Olaf Zawacki-Richter

Abstract

Teaching and assessment in higher education institutions are increasingly supported by digital tools and services. Students, however, perceive and value the importance of such e-learning offerings in very diverse ways. The goal of this article is to examine which predictors significantly influence students’ perceptions of the value of digital learning formats. Based on Küpper's acceptance model, we generate hypotheses that are subsequently tested using data from a German student survey. The results show that individual-related characteristics, especially motivation and orientation patterns of students, have a high impact on the perceived importance of digital learning formats. Our analyses indicate that besides individual performance and motivation, the practical orientation of a student is also a key predictor for a high rating of the importance of digital learning formats. An analysis of characteristics regarding the field of study shows that students who major in economic sciences, especially those who frequently work with digital learning formats in their classes, find them significantly more important than students who major in social science. Regarding innovation-based characteristics, students who express a need for flexible course offerings rate the use of digital learning formats as particularly important. The discussion provides an evaluation of the results of the student study based on the hypotheses and presents further implications.

Keywords: digital learning formats; online learning; online learner characteristics; motivation; perceived benefit

(Published: 15 April 2014)

Citation: Research in Learning Technology 2014, 22: 23342 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v22.23342

Keywords

digital learning formats; online learning; online learner characteristics; motivation; perceived benefit

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