1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The impact of e-learning is increasingly dominating the current educational system as the impact of technology continuously dominates our day to day activities worldwide (Bass 2006).
Especially governments of developing countries like Nigeria are convinced that their journey towards educational development is mainly dependent on technological support (MoE, 2005; Serbessa, 2006). For this, science and technology education is the primary target in which case tertiary education will come to the front. Electronic learning which is often regarded as the fundamental tool for education is then the basic primary element which needs a very serious support during the teaching-learning process in Nigerian tertiary institutions. This shows that the chain of interdependent relationships between development, technology, education and tertiary institutions in bringing the issue of the conceptual change in teaching and learning methodologies in other to improve students’ academic performances and achievement. This interdependent chain is cyclic such that education supports the growth of technology, while in return, technological facilities support educational system and by extension students academic performances.
E-learning is simply regarded as the use of Information and Communication Technology e.g. Internet, Computer, Mobile phone, Learning Management System (LMS), Televisions, Radios and others to enhance teaching and learning activities. E-learning is a unifying term used to describe the fields of online learning, web-based training and technology delivered instructions (Oye , Salleh, & Iahad, 2010). E-learning approach has become an increasingly popular learning approach in higher educational institutions due to vast growth of internet technology. Nowadays E-learning has a competitive advantage and many tertiary institutions have implemented it and this has impacts on students’ academic performance or GPA. However, still there are other tertiary institutions and academic institutions that use very low interactive E-learning which is not enough to contribute to the performance of the students. In contrary to that, other higher educational institutions use highly interactive E-learning which directly improves students’ academic performance in general (Rodgers, 2008). Today technology is a tool used to remove geographical barriers and facilitates everybody to learn anytime and anywhere without the presence of the lecturer. The main purpose of E-Learning is to increase accessibility of education and reducing costs and time as well as improving students’ academic performance. This approach of learning facilitates different students at different continents to attend the same classes almost at the same time. Nowadays, technology is becoming the medium for teaching and learning without being at tertiary institution campuses. This technology enabled instructional method is aimed to improve quality of education and student academic performance. It has been found that students in higher educational institutions that engaged in E-Learning, generally performed better than those in face-to-face courses. (Holley, 2002) found that students who participate in online/ E-Learning achieve better grades than students who studied traditional approach. As result of this finding E- learning is growing very fast and become popular and that is why many higher educational institutions are adopting to virtual learning system. ELearning is widely used in many universities in the world today. In some universities, their E-learning does not add any value to the teaching and learning activities of the Tertiary institution and perhaps they do not investigate the impact of E-learning on student academic performance among Nigerian undergraduates.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The inevitability of education is increasing by the day because of increasing pressure to catch up with the developed nations when it comes to global competitiveness (Hawkins 2002). Before the introduction of e-learning many people who wanted to obtain tertiary institution degree had to compete for the few places that were offered by the public universities. Those offered places had to apply for study leave as they had to go through the traditional learning system. This kind of further education system was characterized by limited number of students that could be absorbed per an academic year and consequent removal from their places of work for the duration of their study.
From the reviewed literature, it can be deduced that there seems to be no research studies on the joint contributions of e-learners’ socio-demographic, hours spent online/offline and prior computer skills variables to their academic performance. Whereas, researchers and theorists (Coldeway, 1986; Calvert, 1986; Garrison, 1987; Kumar, 2001) have stressed the need for a comprehensive approach, taking into account all the experiences of e-learners as well as the unique aspects of e-learning environment. In addition, it has also been observed that little research has been devoted to exploring factors that predict the academic performance of e-learners (Cookson, 1989) while those that even exist concentrated largely on demographic correlates as a component in their studies (Kumar, 2001).
Several studies have been carried out on academic performance especially on conventional students, but not much on e-learning students within the Kenyan educational system. The need to sever this ground so as to extend the frontier of knowledge in order to help improve the unimpressive e-learners’ academic performance necessitates and serves as the motivating factor for undertaking the present piece of research so as to fill the existing important research gap.
This study sought to establish whether the “Group Learning Sets” offer its beneficiaries ability to develop the associated concepts; does e-learning help the students improve their grades, skills, values, procedures and technology necessary to apply in their jobs. The study endeavored to answer the following questions, what role does prior computer skills play in improving student’s performance: In so doing, the study sought to measure the ability of the students to use e-learning tools such as internet/intranet, computers, and software for particular purposes. What is the role of personal characteristics on academic performance? To measure personal characteristics the study sought to identify variables such as gender, students with special needs, gifted students, and religion these helped the researcher know such personal issues that may influence a student’s usage and acceptance of the technology as may be informed by individual’s socialization. Lastly, what is the impact of hours spent online/offline has on students?
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of e-learning on the academic performance of undergraduate students. Specifically, the study will:
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions were raised to guide the study:
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant relationship between E-learning and the academic performance of undergraduate students in Nigeria.
H1: There is a significant relationship between E-learning and the academic performance of undergraduate students in Nigeria.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of the study is centered on the students, undergraduates, educational planner, administrators and the general public. There are a lot of benefits to derive on the use of e-learning technologies.
The findings of the study will encourage undergraduates and students to develop skills and competencies in e-learning technologies for teaching and learning in Tertiary education programme.
Curriculum planners will be made to design curriculum that will encourage and emphasize technology driven education at the 21st century in Tertiary education course contents which will improve students’ skills and competencies for employability and self sustainability.
The study will provide improved performance in terms of teaching and learning abilities of undergraduates and students of Tertiary institutions. It will also promote conveniences and flexibility of students through self paced and time, as well as increased access to instructors of best quality through share of knowledge across boarders, viz online and internet connectivity.
Additionally, administrators and managers of Tertiary education in Tertiary institution will be able to access students’ payments, records, admission, evaluating and results, on-line registration, online assessment and exchange programmes.
1.7. SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study is on the impact of E-learning on the academic performance of undergraduates using the National teachers institute Ondo state as a case study.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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