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Volume 24-Issue1-2015-BALOG

Acceptance of e-Learning Systems: a Serial Multiple
Mediation Analysis

Alexandru BALOG
I C I Bucharest
(National Institute for R & D in Informatics)

8-10 Averescu Blvd.
011455 Bucharest 1, Romania

Abstract: The success of an e-learning system depends strongly on understanding the factors that influence students’ use and acceptance of this kind of system. Technology acceptance models (TAMs) are frequently used in studies investigating the determinants of adoption and usage of new technologies. Drawing on the findings from extant literature on technology acceptance, this study developed and tested a multiple mediator model using TAM3 framework and concepts. The model was tested on a sample of 220 students using Structural Equation Modeling and serial multiple mediation analysis. The study proved that perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness mediate sequentially the relationships between the four external variables – social influence, facilitating conditions, self-efficacy, perceived enjoyment – and behavioral intention to use the e-learning system . The empirical results provide support for the proposed model. The results indicate that the TAM is a theoretically sound model which can be used to predict students’ behavioural intention (BI) to use e-learning systems.

Keywords: E-learning acceptance, technology acceptance model, SEM, multiple mediation.

>>Full text
Alexandru BALOG, Acceptance of e-Learning Systems: a Serial Multiple Mediation Analysis, Studies in Informatics and Control, ISSN 1220-1766, vol. 24 (1), pp. 101-110, 2015.

  1. Introduction

E-learning has become a potential alternative to traditional face-to-face type of learning. It generally refers to the use of computer network technology, primarily over an intranet or through the Internet, to deliver information and instruction to individuals [22]. However, simply providing learners with a web-based learning system does not guarantee a successful e-learning [8]. The success of an e-learning system depends on understanding the factors that influence the students’ acceptance of such learning systems. Technology acceptance models and theories are frequently used in studies investigating the determinants of adoption and usage of new technologies.

A well-known model aiming to explain and predict individual adoption and use of information technologies (IT) is Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), developed and validated by Davis [11], and Davis, Bagozzi and Warshaw [12]. TAM has three key variables: perceived usefulness (PU), perceived ease of use (PEOU), and behavioural intention (BI) to use. The two core beliefs, PU and PEOU, are main determinants of an individual’s BI to use a technology. The PU and PEOU are influenced by a number of external variables such as user characteristics and system features. TAM further theorizes that the effects of external variables on BI will be mediated by PEOU and PU [12].

The original model was revised and extended with new variables (TAM2 [42], TAM3 [41]) in order to provide a broader view and a better explanation of technologies adoption. The TAM and its subsequent extensions has been applied and tested in many studies, including in e-learning contexts.

However, little research has been done to focus on the actual mediating role of core beliefs and few studies have tested whether PEOU and PU mediate external variables (e.g., [1, 5, 7, 31, 40]). Recent research emphasized that there is limited empirical examination of the social factors, organizational factors, and individual factors that may affect the user adoption and acceptance of e-learning systems [36].

The current research attempts to address the inconsistent findings on mediating role of core beliefs in TAM and to apply advanced statistical methods for inferences about mediated effects. This study investigates acceptance of e-learning systems in Romanian context, using the TAM3 framework. Also, advanced statistical methods (e.g., Structural Equation Modeling, bootstrap method) have been applied within this research.

This study is one of the first attempts to test and prove by advanced methods the mediating role of core beliefs in the technology acceptance models.

The paper is organized as follows. Section 2 briefly reviews theoretical framework. Section 3 describes the proposed research model and hypotheses, and Section 4 presents research methods. Section 5 shows results, which will be discussed in Section 6. Finally, Section 7 summarizes the main conclusions.


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