Technology is a critical component of the present world due to its extensive application in different fields of human operation (Cleaver, 2014). Consequently, education has strong influences on the daily lives of various individuals. Recently, education has deviated from its usual traditional forms and it has hitherto assumed several new forms. For instance, the advent of online and technology-based education is a phenomenon that has revolutionized the education sector. Stakeholders in the education sector need to take online-based education seriously because it is a strong indicator of future educational trends (Marinkovic, 2011). Several studies have sought to find out the effectiveness of online-based education. Furthermore, it is important to consider how online-based education has influenced the teaching fraternity. The application of technology in education might not receive great enthusiasm as opposed to the other forms of general technological communication (Muirhead, 2000). Also, the environment created by technological education must be interrogated deeply to highlight its benefits in the education system. This study aims to evaluate online and computer-based education and its impacts on the education system concerning student satisfaction and learning outcomes. The study begins by presenting a problem statement, then a literature review on the subject, a description of the research methods that are used in the study, and ends by presenting a conclusion.
The introduction of technology in the education sector has brought about important changes in this field. However, there is a need to address some of the issues that are of importance to the use of technology in the education sector. One important issue in the consideration of technology in the education sector is the students’ readiness to adopt the technological aspects of education. As such, it is understandable that the use of technology in communication is different from the application of the same methods of learning (Reynolds, 2009). In this case, students embrace technology easily when it comes to communication and other general applications. Nevertheless, students are not willing to use technology readily when it comes to education. For instance, students are hesitant to embrace the use of mobile technology as an educational tool. Educational tasks that incorporate mobile-technology such as sending and receiving assignments are not popular with the student population as compared to social and personal uses of technology. In other scenarios, the use of technology in education can reduce the rate and success of skill-uptake among students. For example, when students are allowed to use mobile technology to access learning materials during class sessions, their concentration reduces significantly enough to affect the uptake of skills. It is important to evaluate the parameters that impact the adoption of technology within an education-based environment.
The purpose of this research from the context of educational technology will focus on online and computer-based technology. In this case, online-based education uses mobile and computer-based technology to facilitate the different functions of learning. Some of the functions that are facilitated by computer-based technology include providing students with access to learning materials and skills that add to their proficiency. Therefore, the problems that are identified in the problem statement will be studied from the perspective of online education and the computer-based view.
Academic Discipline and the Content Field
Online and computer-based technologies apply to many educational disciplines. This research will be concerned with the education sector particularly the passage of information from teachers and lecturers to students. Also, the teaching staff is expected to disseminate the ideology of educational technology after qualification (Chen, Lambert & Guidry, 2010). As such, it becomes important to identify how the effectiveness of the teaching staff is transferred to the students. It is also important to identify some of how the use of computer-based education can help educational professionals to create an environment that is conducive for learning.
The target audience of this research will be students who have already attained a college-level education. It is important to note that college-level students have already determined their areas of specialization. This study will particularly target college-level students who specialize in education. The students are a relevant specimen in this research because the study seeks to determine how involving all stakeholders can promote technology-based learning. It is possible to evaluate the latest successes of technology-based learning by using the increasing number of students who have adopted it as a guide. Students who specialize in education are strong indicators of the trends that technology-based learning will take in the future. For instance, most education-based curriculums are inclusive of courses that teach technology-based teaching methods. Consequently, students who specialize in education constitute a good sample for this study because of their proximity to current and future technological learning matters.
Significance to the Field
It is pertinent to consider the significance of this study from two different and crucial perspectives. First, the significance of the study relates to the use of technology in academic institutions. The world is experiencing a paradigmatic shift from an analog-centered economy to a digital globe. The world is solely becoming interconnected by technology because people have adopted it as a means of communication. Consequently, it is important to consider that the education sector will change following the digital method of doing things (Walker, Curren, Kiesler, Lammers & Goldenson, 2013). Therefore, it is important to consider how using technology in education creates an appropriate learning environment. Indeed, this consideration becomes important because the introduction of technology should not reduce the quality of education offered. In any case, education-based technology should make it easy for students to access and improve the quality of their skills.
Theoretical and Conceptual Framework-Theory of Change
The world has shifted from an analog globe to a digital system (Bennett, Maton & Kervin, 2008). Furthermore, this global shift is beginning to be felt in the education sector where the method that is increasingly being used to relay information is digital. People have become used to technology in their daily communication and transactions. As such, the educational sector will have to change how it imparts skills. Since the aspect of a digital world warrants change in the sector, the theory of change serves a critical role in this research. In principle, the theory of change focuses on how human behavior changes with time (Whitney, 2009). Also, the theory focuses on the outcomes of the process of change regardless of whether it is induced naturally or artificially. It is important to note that the theory revolves around showing the clear differences between the prevalent and the intended outcome of change. The intended plan and the actual results of the computer-based technology in the education sector are easy to analyze using the theory of change. Secondly, the theory of change seeks to address the issue of how stakeholders should position their intended results to determine how they will participate in the process of change. This factor will help to identify the stakeholders that should be involved in the implementation of computer-based education, and how they should set their goals and the strategies.
Following the problem statement, three research questions will be considered in this study.
- What difficulties are incurred by students as a result of the change from the traditional to the technological method of receiving an education?
- What proportion of students is prepared to use technology for educational purposes?
- How can the stakeholders eliminate the possible deterrents and inhibitors of technology-based education?
Participants and Availability
The main participants of this study are students who are pursuing education at the college level. The students pursuing education at the college level will be required to answer the question of whether they are prepared to adopt technology to learn. The participants of this study will be sourced from various learning institutions. Stakeholders in the education sector are also participants in this study. The stakeholders will provide information that relates to the objectives of computer-based education as well as the strategies that are used to achieve the goals of providing satisfaction to students.
Research Method and Design
This research employs a deductive design where the researcher provides a research question, makes a hypothesis, and then proceeds to collect data to either accept or reject the hypothesis. Also, the research will incorporate both qualitative and quantitative research methods such as the use of questionnaires and literature reviews. The first and third research questions are qualitative because they seek to determine the difficulties incurred by students in their quest for technology-aided education. The second research question is quantitative because it seeks to determine the proportion of the student population that is willing to use technology in learning. The research data is collected by administering questionnaires using an online survey. The online survey ensures that the data collection is timely (Higgins, Xiao & Katsipataki, 2012). Also, the sampling will be conducted using random purposeful sampling, which includes two different sampling techniques. Random sampling involves providing randomly picked students with questionnaires that seek to unravel the participants’ technology-based learning experiences. Random sampling is meant to ensure that the results of this study are naturalistic while purposeful sampling ensures that the respondents provide relevant data.
Measurement of Students’ Outcomes
Two different and critical measurement parameters are employed in this study to measure students’ outcomes. First, the students will be assessed from the perspective of whether they are capable of using technology effectively in education. The second parameter will seek to measure the willingness of students to use technology to learn.
Additional Expected Outcomes
In addition to the students’ outcomes, the effectiveness of stakeholders and the policymakers will be evaluated. In this case, the assessment will be based on whether their objectives are achieved within the stipulated period. As such, their assessment will be tied to the performance of students taking online courses and their effectiveness when it comes to the application of the learned skills in the field (Muirhead, 2000). It is expected that the actions of stakeholders regarding the use of technology in education have a great impact on the students’ learning experiences.
One of the instruments that will be used for this research is a questionnaire, which will be distributed to students through a coordinated online survey. Some aspects of the research study might require audio recording that will be made through video and voice calls. After the initial questionnaires are disbursed, some follow up interviews will be conducted with the consent of the interviewees. The audio interviews are particularly important to the research because they have an increased chance of being authentic. The instruments that are required for this research include a phone for conducting follow up interviews and a computer for sending the questionnaires and making video calls.
The research will start with a pilot study which will determine the practicability of the identified research methods and designs (Ray & Coulter, 2010). The suitability of the questionnaire and any inconsistencies that might appear during the coding process will be identified during the research’s pilot study. Any other errors in the research process will also be identified through the pilot study. The pilot study will also be used to identify the rate of responses when it comes to online research requests. A low response rate will indicate that the research needs to be retooled. The pilot study will incorporate all the aspects of the research including experimental sampling, data collection, and analysis. After the pilot study, the identified flaws will be corrected and the actual research conducted from the sampling to analysis.
Although the research is essentially significant, it is necessary to state that there are a few limitations. One of the critical limitations revolves around the use of online surveys rather than the physical interviews. An online survey will eliminate the opportunity to detect some of the emotional and nonverbal cues which are very important in qualitative analysis. This hurdle can be eliminated by accompanying the online questionnaires with an email message that describes the specifics of this research.
Technology alone cannot improve learning, for its efficacy depends on how well the students use it in learning. Educational technology promotes student motivation, satisfaction, and authentic learning among young people. However, an education system cannot realize these gains if it structures the technology around the course content and pedagogy. According to this research study, educational technology is useful because it promotes personalized learning, lesson organization, and student-teacher interaction. On the other hand, educational technology is harmful because it destabilizes the traditional teaching model that results in lower contact hours, it gives students unchecked freedom, and wastes time due to delays in the integration of the curriculum into technology platforms.
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