Evaluating Learners’ Ability to Use Technology in Distance Education: The Case of External Degree Programme of The University Of Nairobi


Ouma OMITO


ABSTRACT
The study was aimed at investigating the students’ ability to use technology for distance education with specific reference to the University of Nairobi’s External Degree Programme. To achieve this, one specific objective was formulated: To find out the student teacher’s readiness to accept and utilize technology for learning purposes in relation to their work experience. The study design used was cross- sectional survey with a well -constructed questionnaire. The study population was 500 External Degree Students of the University of Nairobi who were final year students in the Bachelor of Education (Arts) by distance mode. The study sample of 217 was reached at by the use of a sample table provided by Krejcie and Morgan,(1970). Simple random technique was to identify the 217 respondents. A total of 110 questionnaires were filled and returned by respondents who were school teachers in Kenya. A non-probability sampling technique (purposive) was used to select the cohort under study, that is, the final semester students in the External Degree programme of the University of Nairobi. The results from the pilot study were used to prove content validity as instrument reliability was determined from the internal consistency of responses from the questionnaire after the pilot study. The findings from the study revealed that majority of teachers 19(50%) who had a work experience between 6 to 11 years were able to gather information from the internet for learning purposes. It was also learnt that as number of years for work experience increased (21 years and above), the ability to gather information from the internet decreased drastically. When respondents were asked of their ability to troubleshoot computers, all categories of work experience showed low ability. All percentages were less than 50% with the work experience brackets of 21 and above years recording 22.2% as the highest percentage. Finally, when respondents were asked about their feelings towards using computers for their additional research and education, the work experience brackets of 21 and above years overwhelmingly 6(67.7%) enjoyed working with computers. It was therefore concluded that any institution aiming at introducing e-learning in their institution should assess students’ technology literacy levels and prepare them in advance before the launch of e-learning.


KEYWORDS: e-Learning, Wedusoft, distance learning, distance education, e-learning uptake, information literacy


DOI : 10.17718/tojde.18587 
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