1.1 Background to the Study
The concept ‘E-learning’ refers to all forms of teaching and learning through Information and Communication Technologies (Basak, Wotto and Belanger, 2018). This includes any course content that is delivered through the use of the Internet, audio and videotape, CD-ROM, satellite broadcast, MP3 players, podcasts, interactive television, PDAs, email, and blogs and more recently, social media applications such as Zoom and WhatsApp. Indeed, e- learning is a relatively new phenomenon that is growing in a significant number of academic institutions around the world, enhancing the learning and teaching processes (Basak et al, 2018). According to Basak et al (2018), the enhancements include incorporating text, audio, video, and animation into course lectures; retrieving information from online journals, periodicals, and newspapers; including simulations and multi-media presentations in the classroom; enhancing communication and collaboration between tutors and students and uploading course content and tests to the institution’s websites.
E- learning depends mainly on the use of computer as assisting tools and the most significant characteristics of e-learning are that the teacher and the learner are in different physical environments and that the communication throughout the teaching and learning process is carried out via e-mail, social media forums and through the Internet (Horton, 2016). Lecture notes and other Instructional materials are transferred electronically or through the Internet or through course software with the help of computer technologies in methods such as voice notes, video presentations etc. Therefore, students are required to have appropriate computer skills in order to access e-learning materials. Some of e-learning method benefits are that it provides the content of the course in a longer period of time compared to classroom environment and other methods.
Furthermore; it reaches a greater number of learners, at the same time ensuring a learning environment that is independent of time and place; particularly for adult learners.
The use of Information Technology (IT) in teaching and learning has created a need to transform how students from higher institutions learn by using more modern, efficient and cost-effective alternatives in the form of e-learning. One important advantage of e-learning is that it can help educators and students to overcome time and place barriers (Basak et al, 2018). Kenny (2015) points out that e- learning has benefited teaching and learning environments.
It can also assist students and institutions in terms of course availability, affordability, and convenience, by offering students opportunities to interact with an instructor and other students and be engaged in the environments that are not bound by time and place (Horton, 2016). Other economic benefits of Elearning include consistency in the delivery of educational activities, reduction in instruction time, enhancing cognitive recall and mastery of learning, and increase students’ motivation and satisfaction (Herriot, 2016). Furthermore, e-learning supports self-directed learning, students’ acquisition of skills and confidence in using information technology, a transition from classroom to independent learning, and individually paced learning (Smith, 2014). Moreover, e-learning can be time-efficient for teachers as well, thus freeing them to focus on students’ educational needs.
On the other hand, the implementation of e-learning systems does not however guarantee a highquality education. There are still many obstacles commonly related to technological aspects including issues concerning access to resources, internet connection and familiarity with the computer amongst students. Although the advancement of technology has helped to minimize these obstacles, it seems that the problems have shifted to the learners’ attitude, perception and use. Attitude as defined by Eagly and Shelly (2014), is a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor. This includes an evaluation of something and the response being either positive or negative based on past or present experience with that entity. The evaluations made by the individual may be conscious, but they may also be unconscious, based on perceptions and exposure to the entity. An individual may also make an evaluation affectively (based on feelings and emotions). The learners may feel isolated and unmotivated when using e-learning systems (Heriot, 2016).
In view of the above, it was therefore necessary and pertinent to study the attitude and perception of nursing students and the factors that may influence their attitudes and perceptions towards elearning in FCT School of Nursing.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The perception of the students about e-learning determines their attitude towards e-learning. And their adoption of e-learning is a function of their readiness for it, especially if they are satisfied with the terms of service of the e-learning programme/platform. This will, in turn, determine the extent to which e-learning reaches its full potential (Adewuyi, 2020).
Despite the use of e-learning method through these formats, previous studies suggest e-learning has not reached its full potential (Adewuyi, 2020). This study assessed and explored the attitude and perception of nursing students towards e-learning in FCT School of Nursing, Gwagwalada.
1.3 Objectives of Study
1.3.1 Specific Objectives
1. To assess the attitude of nursing students towards e-learning in FCT School of Nursing,
2. To examine the perception of nursing students towards e-learning in FCT School of Nursing, Gwagwalada.
3. To identify the factors that influence the attitude of nursing students towards e-learning in FCT School of Nursing, Gwagwalada.
I.4 Research Questions
1. What attitudes do nursing students in FCT School of Nursing portray towards e-learning?
2. What perceptions do nursing students in FCT School of Nursing have about e-learning?
3. What are the factors that influence the attitudes of nursing students towards e-learning in FCT School of nursing?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study will be useful to the participants in the research by providing them with more understanding of the concept of E-learning. This study will be useful to the nursing profession to help her identify the attitude and perception of nursing students towards e-learning program and formats, and the factors that influence these perceptions and attitudes.
This study will also be useful to the nursing educational institutions; providing data for assessment and development of strategies to tackle the factors that influence nursing students’ attitudes and perceptions of e-learning, thereby enhancing continuing education in the profession. The study will be useful to the government and local authorities by aiding them in identifying students’ attitude and perception towards e-learning and to develop strategies to tackle the factors that influence these attitudes and perceptions.
Finally, the study will add to the body of knowledge and nursing research, and in assisting further researchers who will venture into similar studies in the future.
1.6 Scope of Study
The scope of this study covered; exploring the attitude of nursing students towards e-learning, understanding the perception of nursing students about e-learning, and identifying the factors that influence the attitudes and perceptions of nursing students towards e-learning in FCT School of Nursing, Abuja.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Perception: Is the understanding which students in FCT School of Nursing have about e-learning.
Attitude: Is the mental and emotional evaluation and behaviour portrayed towards e-learning by nursing students in FCT School of nursing.
E-learning: Refers to all forms of teaching and learning through Information and Communication Technologies using formats such as CD-ROM, electronic medias such as TV, Radio, social media such as WhatsApp, Zoom etc.
Nursing student: A student in a post-secondary educational program that leads to certification and licensing to practice nursing, usually as part of a program administered by a nursing school.
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