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E-learning in higher education during COVID-19: evidence from blackboard learning system

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

Indexing : Scopus

Purpose: The blackboard learning system is an online platform designed for e-learning employed by higher education institutes like universities that facilities students to continue learning and educational activities. This study explores the determinants that affect students' acceptance and use of Blackboard learning system (BLS) in Pakistan utilizing the modified UTAUT framework with social isolation as an additional variable. Design/methodology/approach: A questionnaire survey was conducted, and the study gathered 494 university students' responses in Pakistan as participants. The collected data were interpreted applying PLS-SEM version 3.2.3 software. Findings: The study's findings exhibited that PE, EE, FC and SI are the prime determinants influencing the intention and use of BLS in Pakistani universities. Hedonic motivation and social isolation interact differently between UTAUT variables and use intention. The results verify the suitability of the applied theory in the background of the study. Research limitations/implications: However, the findings highlight the present understanding of BLS use from the learners' aspect, but the study's limitation cannot be evaded. The study respondents belonged to a specific region of Pakistan (Karachi) that might influence the usefulness of the outcomes. Other factors categorized as the environmental, system and organizational elements were not part of the study that may also differentiate the BLS acceptance. The model was extended by including the social isolation, but the effect is insignificant yet positive; therefore, it is required to evaluate the model differently, such as the organizational aspect, for future research. Moreover, the ethnic factors that vary in emerging and developed economies may provide different explanations; therefore, they can be incorporated in future studies. Likewise, the variables such as hedonic motivation need to be emphasized more by examining and evaluating its effect on students' education performance in the future. Practical implications: The outcome of the study suggests some implications. At first, being the modified framework UTAUT2 application makes the collaboration appropriate according to the current phenomena of the COVID-19 pandemic and its contribution to the higher education region to analyze the acceptance of e-learning systems. Educational institutions within Pakistan would emphasize enhancing students' accomplishment by improving the interface and the blackboard learning system workability. Hence, learners' effectiveness in learning would be escalated; they would be encouraged to accomplish study objectives using BLS, particularly when they consider it easy to use and a useful platform for e-learning during the pandemic. Furthermore, enhancing the e-learning system in the context of the effort demands to be required to utilize BLS should be the foremost objective as learners would be motivated to accept the technology if they consider it simple, convenient, and user-friendly to adopt. Thus, the benefits of using BLS during this situation when universities are not operational will make students adaptable to change in the prospect. Learners will accept the model of online education, even if the universities become operational. However, it can increase the rate of earnings and revenue for universities as they can enroll in online and regular classes. Therefore, it is suggested that higher education management should create a resilient online platform by which facilitators can communicate with learners without any obstacles. Social implications: Hence, it is recommended to introduce the online short course, qualification, certified courses and integrated coursework with international ventures and ongoing classes. Numerous learners continue their studies along with the job. Therefore, it is suggested to introduce online programs for those learners. Another benefit would be that it offers an integrated platform for sharing knowledge. BLS offers to maintain the complete information in one place, and learners can see them as per their convenience based on their availability. This reduces the burden on administration related to keeping the educational material and resource in various files. Thus, it also reduces the expense of universities. It is suggested to emphasize encouraging the use of BLS through an effective plan that can assist in execution and help learners identify the technology features rather than to face difficultly to accept the change. Moreover, the acceptance of BLS for educational purposes verifies that other learning events can occur on the online platform. Thus, it is recommended to promote the origin of the online atmosphere and the initiation of other events. Globally, dynamics are changing frequently and continuously and are moving towards artificial intelligence systems; the circumstances are suitable for promoting online educational platforms' acceptance by incorporating it with the current educational arrangement. Originality/value: The study provides recommendations for the research to be conducted to explore the modified framework in different regions and boundaries to evaluate the effect of other factors on adopting e-learning platforms.


Social isolation, Hedonic motivation, Online learning, Blackboard leaning management (BLS), UTAUT2 model

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