Saturday, 8 November 2014

How does computer self-efficacy effect the success and failure of students using E-learning systems in tertiary education?

So it's been a while! For those of you that follow me on YouTube, you will understand how much time I've been putting in over there lol.

So I have just finished my first year at University and my final assignment has just been handed up.
I though I'd share it with you:

How does computer self-efficacy effect the success and failure of students using E-learning systems in tertiary education?

Article by S, Mawson

 ‘E-learning uses network technologies to create, foster, deliver, and facilitate learning anytime, anywhere’ (Liaw, 2007).  Because of this, E-learning is becoming the fastest growing method of teaching.  E-learning is being implemented in almost every learning platform; this includes primary and secondary education, jobs and careers training for new employees.  Even entire university courses can be completed online in open universities.  For this reason it is important to discuss the factors that influence an individual’s performance level, and what can be done to increase the success of E-learning systems (ELS).  This article will look at how computer self-efficacy (CSE) effects the success and failure of students using ELS in tertiary education, and what aspects of the current systems encourage or hinder success. This article will also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of learning in an online environment; how CSE plays a role in the use of technology and quality of learning; and what needs to be improved, not just in the ELS’s themselves, but also in the students’ information computer technology (ICT) backgrounds.  It is the intent of this article to outline the importance of a strong and well-designed foundation for all ELS programs to encourage success and increase the CSE of learners.

There are advantages and disadvantages to E-learning. The main advantages cited are that E-learning can be accessed anywhere, at any time, with asynchronous interaction, allowing greater possibilities for collaboration.  In addition, new approaches to education are being developed, with a greater emphasis on the integration of computer-based learning (Capper, 2001).
In the modern world being able to access tertiary education at the click of a button is an incredibly valuable resource. The at-your-own-pace in-your-own-time approach is attractive to a number of different would be student cohorts.  A range of students will value the E-learning approach, for example: students with an ICT background, and students who do not benefit from the social aspect of the classroom, rural students, students whose preferred course is not offered in their state, full-time working/mature aged students, and students responsible for family or other commitments.  Leidner & Jarvenpaa (1995) suggest that students learn better when they control the speed at which they learn, and discover information on their own. If this is the case then why do studies such as Dutton & Perry (2002) state substantially larger dropout rates among E-learning students than face-to-face students? According to Marcus & Bouhnik (2006) this suggests something is not working properly in e-learning systems.

Students that struggle to maintain self-discipline or experience difficulties with time management, meeting deadlines, and struggle to maintain motivation, may find self-regulated learning a challenge (Convingtone, K 2012). In a survey constructed by Marcus (2003) students using distance E-learning were asked to identify what aspects of the ELS they found dissatisfying.  Reasons listed include: lack of framework, lack of supervision, absence of a “learning environment”, lack of student-to-student interaction, and limitations due to communication over the internet.  E-learning also requires students to dedicate more time to learning the subject matter. 
Marcus & Bouhnik (2006) referenced many other studies that they believe produced consistent results with Marcus’s (2003) survey. It is clear from this study that there are areas that require improvement.  Many researchers have attempted to study the student characteristics and circumstances that may result in lower satisfaction with ELS.  Swan (2001) considers the lack of self-motivation and the inability to structure one’s own learning; Roblyer (1999) discusses an absence of previous experience with distance learning as a factor; Saadé & Kira (2009) also suggest perceived ease of use (PEU), technology anxiety, and CSE.  A discussion encompassing this body of literature is beyond the scope of this article but should be taken into account when determining whether a student is suitable for and E-learning environment, and also in the designing and implementation of ELS.

The concept of self-efficacy incorporates the “beliefs in one’s capabilities to mobilize the motivation, cognitive resources and courses of action needed to meet situational demands” (Bandura & Cervone, 1986). Self-efficacy is an easier concept for researchers to measure than confidence, and has more academic influence. For this reason, when we look at how an ELS effects students’ success, CSE is the main factor focused on. For the purposes of this research we will be looking at how self-efficacy, anxiety and PEU all play a part in the success of ELS users.
A quantitative study by Saadé & Kira (2008) investigates the role of CSE in mediating computer anxiety (C-ANX) on PEU.  Put simply, this study concluded that C-ANX has a direct relationship to PEU and that CSE mediates this relationship.  Increasing CSE can lower C-ANX and thus increase the PEU.  According to Saadé & Kira (2008), having a higher PEU will make using an ELS more beneficial.

“The easier a system is to use, the less effort required to carry out a given task” (Davis, Bagozzi & Warshaw, 1992, p. 1115).  If a student perceives the ELS as easy to use, then the student can spend more time learning the content rather than learning how the ELS works.  Sun et al (2006) suggests that PEU has a direct effect on the attrition of students from ELS. The notion is endorsed by Dajani (2014), who agrees that struggling to learn the ELS has a large impact on dropout rates according, thus, it makes sense to create an ELS that is as simple, intuitive and user-friendly as possible.
While some researchers, such as Dajani (2014), have looked how the characteristics of the individual effect their success when using an ELS, Chien (2011) suggests that the effectiveness of an ELS is largely influenced by factors within the system. Selim (2007) claim that the trustworthiness and the smoothness of the infrastructure is important and needs to be concentrated on when creating ELS. Pituch and Lee (2006) also suggests that the three factors influencing the effectiveness of using ELS are (1) Functionality; how easy is the system to use? How intuitive is it? How stable is it? (2) Interaction; how does it respond as a graphical user interface (GUI)? How does the system evaluate or allow content to be evaluated? (3) Response; how does the system respond to the user? Is the feedback supportive or constructive? The results of Pituch and Lee (2006) show that these factors have an influence on both the usage and confidence in using ELS. Finally Chen & Hsu (2007) also suggest that if the ELS has a high quality interface design and technology, that this will have a positive influence of learners’ PEU. It is obvious that looking at the design of the ELS is paramount, but what else can be done to increase PEU and CSE?

Another approach to increasing CSE would be in the design of the ELS. Dominguez et al (2012) suggests a “gamified” approach to the design of the ELS. “Video games are interactive activities that continually provide challenges and goals to the player, thus involving them in an active learning process to master the game mechanics” (Koster, 2005). If this motivation can be harnessed in an educational environment, the impact would be highly beneficial.  Video games can be addictive, articles such as Antonius et al (2009) highlight how computer games are designed to encourage the player to keep playing through localised goal-setting and reward. The concept is that “gamifying” ELSs will give the student a way of measuring experience, and rewarding them for achieving short-term goals. This has been shown to increase CSE as well as academic self-efficacy in general. The results of Dominguez et al (2012) suggest that there are no measurable differences in the academic outcomes for students using the gamified learning system.  However, students’ attitudes towards learning were more positive compared to the control group. There is evidence that a gamified approach can benefit academic outcomes, although more research needs to be done to make this approach more achievable.

Some researchers suggest that ELSs need to be integrated into primary and secondary level education in order to familiarise students with this environment early on (Liaw, 2008; Dajani, 2014). When discussing first impression of a GUI, Saadé and Otrakji (2004) state that a person’s initial impression plays an important role is their intention to adopt the technology. This would suggest that a focus on increasing ELS familiarity in younger students, and fostering a positive ICT background, would increase CSE and lower the C-ANX levels in students Saadé & Kira (2008). With this in mind it is important to make sure that there is a positive first impression to an ELS in the early stages of education. This would hopefully instil a high level of CSE in the students at an early age. Sun et al (2006) also suggests that is may be helpful to include a basic computer literacy course into every students’ first year of college or university.  Students have reported that this approach is beneficial in countries where they have been implemented, such as in America and Taiwan.
A study conducted by Chien (2011) on the use of ELS in the workplace to retrain employees, has put a strong emphasis on the instructor. It was said that “the instructor’s attitude, technical skill, and instructional method can enhance employee training effectiveness” (Chien, 2011). In short, a highly enthusiastic, friendly instructor with a high level of ICT knowledge, and a patient approach, can reduce C-ANX, improve PEU, and increase the effectiveness of the ELS course. Chien goes on to corroborate these findings with the conclusions of other research, such as Volery and Lord (2000), and Webster and Hackley (1997), however a discussion of these results and their implications are beyond the scope of this article.

The findings of this research conclude that positive PEU, low C-ANX, and high CSE are factors that strongly effect the success of students using ELS in tertiary education. A number of factors have been found to mediate these results.  Prior computer knowledge and a positive introduction to ELS at an early age have been shown to increase the PEU and CSE, and lower the C-ANX of the user.  Increasing PEU can in fact lower the C-ANX thus increasing the CSE of the user.  It is also vital that the ELS is well-designed, easy to use, and has a strong focus on smooth performance.  Regulated constructive feedback can also increase the PEU and CSE.  An interactive instructor with a high ICT knowledge and an enthusiasm to teach the content of the ELS is just as important as the ELS itself.  It is also extremely important that the student is able to maintain self-discipline, structure his or her own learning, and has good time management skills, however it could be argued that these traits are necessary for success in any tertiary education environment.
This article suggests that it is important that instructors of ELS implement a firm study framework.  ELS’s could also potentially be used in conjunction with a normal classroom setting, this would allow for students to benefit from the advantages of both systems simultaneously.  If this is not feasible (for example with long distance learning) there should be a strong focus on the selecting of an instructor that is enthusiastic in the subject area, has a high level of ICT knowledge, and is easily accessible to the student (i.e. quick response times to online messaging or emails). Furthermore students considering entering an E-learning course should reflect upon their own ICT background and what they can do to improve on their ICT knowledge, this will improve the PEU of the ELS. Finally, an extremely strong focus should be on the development of the ELS itself.  Traits that a software development team should consider when creating a well-designed ELS, are: a focus on organisation, performance, and quality software that can be easily adapted to suit the individual course, and hands out reliable constructive feedback to the student. Finally, with the expansion of E-learning and the use of ELS in higher education it is important to educate the younger generation and prepare them for what is becoming an E-based world. A positive first impression is of the upmost importance.
‘We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.’ – David Warlick (2009)

Reference list:
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Capper, J. (2001). E-learning growth ad promise for the developing world. TechKnowLogia, May/June. <http://www.techknowlogia.org/TKL_active_pages2/CurrentArticles/main.asp ?FileType=PDF&ArticleID=266> viewed on 3/10/2014
Chen, M.S. and Hsu, K.P. (2007), “The effects of asynchronous e-learning situation on learning perception and usage intention”, Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 25-44 (in Chinese).
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Dajani, F K, (2014). Examining social presence influence on students’ satisfaction with online learning environments. Doctor of Philosophy. Prescott Valley, Arizona: North central.
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Marcus, T. (2003). Communication, technology and education, the role of discussion group in asynchronic distance-learning courses as a beneficial factor in the learning process. Unpublished master’s thesis, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.
Pituch, K.A. and Lee, Y.K. (2006), “The influence of system characteristics on e-learning use”, Computers & Education, Vol. 47 No. 2, pp. 222-44.
Roblyer, M.D. (1999). Is choice important in distance learning? A study of student motives for taking internet base courses at high school and community college levels. Journal of Research on computing in education, Vol, 32, PP, 157-171.
Swan, K. (2001). Virtual interactions: Design factors affecting student’s satisfaction and perceived learning in asynchronous online courses. Distance Education, Vol, 22, No, 2, PP, 306-331.
Selim, H.M. (2007), “Critical success factors for e-learning acceptance: confirmatory factor models”, Computers & Education, Vol. 49 No. 2, pp. 396-413.
Saadé, R., & Kira, D (2008). ‘Computer anxiety in e-learning: the effect of computer self-efficacy', Journal of Information Technology Education, vol. 8, no. 1 pp. 1539-3585.
Sun, P,-C. Tsai, R, J. Finger, G. Chen, Y, Y. Yeh, D (2008), What drives successful E-learning? An empirical investigation of the critical factors influencing learner satisfaction, computer and education, Vol 50, pp 1183-1202
Venkatesh, V., & Morris, M. G. (2000). Why don’t men ever stop to ask direction? Gender, social influence, and their role in technology acceptance and usage behaviour. MIS Quarterly, Vol, 24 No, 1, pp. 115-139.
Volery, T. and Lord, D. (2000), “Critical success factors in online education”, International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 14 No. 5, pp. 216-23.
Webster, J. and Hackley, P. (1997), “Teaching effectiveness in technology-mediated distance learning”, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 40 No. 6, pp. 1282-309.
Warlick, D. (2009) “2c worth of seeking the shakabuku” July (2009) viewed on 1 November 2014 http://2cents.onlearning.us/

Hope you liked it! I found the subject quite interesting..
Please come over and check me out on YouTube and feel free to Subscribe to my channel.
Thanks guys/girls, 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sunday, 7 September 2014

My first encounter with Ubuntu... The pros and cons.

So by now most of you know that I have recently embarked on a quest for knowledge. So far I'v been doing really well in my Pathways program at university and the reality of entering my computer science coarse next year is looming. I  have decided I need to start some "self learning" I want to learn more about how computers work and after asking around, my techy friends have suggested Linux! I went online and downloaded Ubuntu 14.04 its a free legitimate operating system (OS), after installing a duel boot with windows 7 on my uni laptop I instantly encounter problems.. Now don't get me wrong I'v been using Ubuntu for 2 weeks now and I'm absolutely loving it! This is NOT a I hate Linux article in any way! The main problem I have come across is that my Nvidia graphics card doesn't like the OS, so I went  to askubuntu.com and found a work around. It took a while to understand what the forums were talking about but I eventually got to the point where I could open the CLI (Command line interface) and install some new graphics drivers, selected the right one and off I went. I started checking the inbuilt app store for ways of improving the systems GUI (graphical user interface) and found the command lines to download and install a new task bar, some nice desktop backgrounds and my microphone. This whole process was really fun and a massive learning curve. I'm not going to go out and recommend Ubuntu or any Linux distribution as a replacement for windows just yet. As I have only a rudimentary understanding of complex computer use I have found fixing some of the problems I have had with Ubuntu a small challenge but nothing I cant achieve, others may not have either the self-efficacy or the patience as I did. Over all if you have no serous compatibility issues Ubuntu 14.04 is an extremely easy to use nice looking OS, and after the initial learning curve, could quite easily be the stand alone OS for any user! It comes with its own built in form of MS office which is completely compatible with MS office interchangeably. what I mean buy this is if you want to wright a word document in Linux you can, using Libre a free of charge no trial period no catch office solution, then you can upload it to your cloud and open it up on your windows system in MS office. Ubuntu comes with all sorts of free extras and if its not built in you'll have no problem finding what you need on the app store. I would how ever recommend this OS to any user looking to increase there computer knowledge, script righting, or there OS knowledge base. Using the CLI is hard at first but once you get the hang of it and find the right places to get proper script commands from it becomes really fun. At the end of the day Linux is one of the most stable OS's on the market and have little to no virus issues. More then 90% of the worlds super computers use some form of Linux even Android is a distribution of Linux, and if I'm not mistaken Twitter, Facebook, and even YouTube are all run on Linux bases servers and if you have ever used Steam as a gaming platform you are using another form of Linux. The new Steam OS is a distribution of Linux specifically designed for a Gaming console platform. over all I am really happy with my new OS and am going to continue using it. if u want to learn how to install Ubuntu and use it I'm going to start a playlist on my YouTube channel to help others get involved with what is in my opinion a really great OS.
Keep calm and SUDO on!! peace..

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Expanding my gaming genres


So if you have come here from my YouTube channel you might know that I have just finished a series on a game called Outlast. To be perfectly honest I'v never played a "Run and Hide" before, to be really honest the only gaming genres Iv been interested in the past have been role-players eg; Elder Scrolls, Diablo, Fallout 3. and some FPS like Halo, Quake, GTA. I really love the Universe you get with a fantasy gaming and the problem with that when I'm looking for a new game to play is that I find my self too invested in the universes I'm already in (especially with the  elder scrolls series). One of the biggest reason I wanted to start a gaming channel on YouTube (apart from the reasons I'v spoken about in other posts previously) is that I wanted to expand my gaming knowledge, and I wanted to share the adventure with others. Which is why I went left field off the bat with Outlast. From hacking, slashing and shooting too literally the total opposite running and hiding. I found this to be a massive eye opener mainly cos at the start I didn't think I'd enjoy the fact I couldn't kill Chris Walker (aka Pig Man as I like to call him) I had to keep running and hiding and he kept becoming an recurring issue with my progress through the game. But what I felt when he (spoilers!!) was beaten to death by a ghostly entity and then exploded from the inside out in front of my very eyes was overwhelmingly satisfying! The game on a hole was an interesting learning curve for me as far as trusting game developers to engage and satisfy my love for fantasy gaming. 

I got told about Outlast by a friend at Uni and I wasn't convinced for a second that I was going to enjoy it. But I checked out the previews got the ratings even watched some game play on YouTube and after doing the research I decided that "yeah I probably would enjoy playing this game" and lets face I have wasted $17.50 on worse things lol. But Outlast was no waste of money.

As apart of my self betterment with my gaming experience goes I have decided to hit as many different genres as possible with my channel, vowing of coarse to not upload heaps of random/boring FPS, or sniper shot footage (not that there is anything wrong with that lol).
My next YouTube project is the 2013 release of Tomb Raider, Now I loved Tomb Raider as a kid I played the first two but was pulled into a more social gaming seen when I got my first Xbox! so I was really interested to see how the developers of the new Tomb Raider have bought it back to life. So far I'm loving it! Without giving too much away again its a totally different gaming platform to what I'm used to and I'm really glad that I broke free from my comfort zone.

My advise to anyone out there who feels like they can empathize with my feeling of being stuck in a gaming rut, 

-1: Pick a game:
Don't try and compare it to stuff you'v played in the past just pick something totally new a different. If your having trouble with this take to social media (Facebook status: "Anyone know of some cool games I should check out?" See what happens.

-2: Do your research!
When you have picked the game do some research, look for reviews or a lets play series and dip your toe in the water first. With the price of some tittles these days there's nothing worse then spending all that money and getting a crappy game with crap in game graphics and no story line! not to mention this will probably just drive you further in to you "gaming rut".

-3: Don't be afraid to try something new:
Pick a genre you have never done before! even if its just because the female protagonist has a nice ass! that's as good excuse as any and you might be surprised with what you find. I mean if you only expectation of the game is staring at Lara Croft's booty all day and you find your self enjoying the game as well the WINNING!!

And finely don't force it, if the game you have picked just isn't for you then that's fine, lend it to a friend, sell it back to a Game Traders or something and try again!

I hope my words have inspired you to take the plunge into a new world of exploration remember a game is an adventure not a destination.

Happy gaming!!!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

A Surprise Success (it's the little things that count)


So just a little back story..
I dropped out of a public school at the end of year ten, I was fifteen and had been talked into an apprenticeship in commercial cookery. The prospect of earning money at such a young age was extremely enticing, especially when I wasn't doing so great at school. I started to fall behind like some young boys do, I got distracted whether it was girls, computer games, pot, I was just a typical suburban teen. After I noticed that I had fell behind, I started to get less and less interested in school work, the more I fell behind the harder it got and the less I cared. feeling slightly failed by the public school system I saw the apprenticeship as a way out, a way out where I wasn't 'quitting' I was moving on, taking a positive step for my future. The fact of the matter was that I wasn't going to succeed at school as a fourteen year old boy, I wasn't in the right sate of mind. Ten years later I have done some pretty awesome things and feel very accomplished, even lacking a good education I managed to purchase a house a few months after my eighteenth birthday, I have lived in the United Kingdom and traveled western Europe, I have won awards with my cooking and I now live in Adelaide city with my lovely girl friend.

At the end of last year I looked back and the last ten or so years and thought to my self "If this is what I can achieve with a drop out education, in a career I'm not passionate about, what would I be capable of if I applied myself to something I really love doing?.. if I challenged my self mentally not just physically?.. What could I do with a university degree?'' So after talking it over with my girl friend and gathering the support of my close friends and family I enrolled in university and got a casual part time job doing breakfast at a local pub.

Six months later I am just finishing my first semester in a preparatory program (alternative pathway program) at the University of Adelaide and have taken the first big step to achieving my dream! I want more than anything to get involved in computer game development, whether its programming, graphic design, even story boarding.. Its something I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember, I just never thought I'd ever be able to achieve it. The people that made computer games to me were like other peoples music icons or movie stars, they were the veiled heroes of my childhood. I remember playing the Legend of Zelda (it wasn't the first game I ever played) but I distinctly remember I was about six and was thinking to my self "how?!... how is this possible?.. how am I controlling the image on the screen!? what process did the person who built this game follow? where did they start? how did they put it in this cartridge so I could plug it into my TV and play it?" The whole thing was very fascinating and I just remember having this thought for so long. I'm now on my way to finding out! Admittedly I never chased this fascination up, I never dove any deeper in the industry than simply just playing the games I loved, it was enough for me like a Nirvana fan listening to every song over and over again wishing they could play guitar like Kurt Cobain and having no idea where to start!

So anyone who was involved in my discussion about the steam box and the survey about PC vs console gaming might be interested in my grades and feed back on that course.. Well this is what has inspired this blog post, I want this to be my feel good story, my fuck you to those public school teachers who never saw my potential, who told me I'd never amount to anything. My over all grades for my first semester of university are:

ICT: 93.7% High Distinction
UNI CULTURE: 92.3% High Distinction
BIOLOGY/PHYSICS: 76% Distinction
MATH: 74.74% Credit

And all I want to do now, is better and better! These grades might not look like much to some of you but to me its the best I'v ever done at anything! and after being convinced that I was never going to excel at anything academically these grades have shown me that anything is possible and that I can make my dream a reality, as long as I take control and push my self to success! This post isn't me trying to brag about my grades or anything like that, my hope for this post is that someone out there that feels like they have it tough at school or feels like they aren't suited to a class room environment reads this and finds some level of inspiration in it. Because if that's how you feel the likelihood is you probably aren't in the right state of mind for a class room environment, spread your wings find something constructive to do while you figure out what it is that your good at. I would never have been able to do so well at uni if I hadn't dropped out of school to become a chef, the things I have learnt as a chef; dedication, time management, organisation, adaptation, all these things I was never going to learn at school, and to be honest I had a lot of growing up to do first!

So let that be a lesson to all of you out there.... the only person that's in your way of success is you! don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The sooner you realize that you're the only person who can change your life, the sooner you can start to succeed!

I would just like to thank my friends and family for the support that they have given me, it has been invaluable. Especially from my Mum and my girlfriend!