Re-examining Students’ Perception of E-Learning: An Australian Perspective
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Purpose – Australian tertiary institutions are increasingly incorporating technologies, such as social media and Web 2.0 tools into teaching in response to changing student needs. The purpose of this paper is to revisit a fundamental question, frequently asked in marketing, “what do our ‘customers’ [students] think now?” This will help determine the effectiveness of application of these technologies in courses and teaching programs in a changing competitive educational environment. Design/methodology/approach – Using a mixed method approach, data were collected through 31 qualitative interviews and a survey of 231 university marketing students. Quantitative techniques included summary statistics, factor analysis and t-test. Findings – Results indicate while students’ perceived flexibility and better learning outcomes as positive aspects of e-learning, they have concerns about flexibility for self-paced learning, self-motivational issues, lack of human interaction and fostering teamwork. Research limitations/implications – The study is limited to one Australian university operating in domestic and international markets. However, the study needs to be replicated for better generalizability across the sector. Practical implications – The findings question the effectiveness of e-learning as an alternative approach to face-to-face learning pedagogy. However, regular review of current e-learning tools is needed to help match student and tertiary institution expectations. Originality/value – This study re-investigates students’ perception in relation to the benefits that e-learning is expected to yield. It is one of the few studies questioning whether these promised benefits are valued by the tertiary student fraternity.
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