ASSESSMENT OF AVAILABILITY AND UTILIZATION OF E-LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES IN BUSINESS EDUCATION PROGRAMME IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
Background to the Study
Business education has been described as education for and about business (Okwuanaso & Nwazor, 2000; Nwosu, 2003). In other words, business education teaches knowledge and competencies required in business. Business education is considered as the pedagogical knowledge and business competencies necessary for teaching business attitude, concept, skills and knowledge. This could be for personal or vocational usage or career as an administrator, manager or teacher. Business education is seen as a programme that has promoted skills which enable an individual to function effectively and efficiently, as an employee, or employer. Chukwu and Ishiaku (2004) in Olumese (2007) stated that business education is a comprehensive discipline whose instructional programme encompasses the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed by all persons in order to effectively manage their personal business and economic system and also the skills needed for entry into employment and advancement in a broad range of career. In order to achieve this objective, the use of technology becomes very important as a means of learning and teaching.
The use of information and communication technology as a means of improving the efficiency and effectiveness in business education is not in doubt. With the introduction of information and communication technology (ICT), there will be changes in pedagogical delivery system. Akudulu (2006) believed that the advent of information communication technology has given rise to the formulation of new educational objectives which requires innovation and modification in the content, method and evaluation strategies. According to Omolade (2003) in Olumese (2008) the three methods that can be used in teaching business education are through formal education, non-formal education and informal education. Akinpelu, Adewale and Otunla (1999) noted that these three methods can utilize information communication technology (ICT) such as micro computers, teleconference, video conferencing, electronic mail, cyber space and internet, computer, teleconferencing and audio conferencing. Others include hyper text, video text, communication satellite, interactive cable television technique.
E-learning, can be described as a “virtual classroom”. Edigbo (2004) described it as a group of students assembled in a common virtual classroom to meet an instructor on-line (that is, in cyber space). The participants enroll by sending an e-mail to the instructor. The instructor sends out learning materials by electronic means to each participant. Participants submit their assignments electronically to the instructor and receive corrections later. In this way, e-learning is established. The Wikipedia (2010) refers to e-learning as the use of electronic media and information communication technologies (ICT) in education. Broadly speaking, it includes all forms of educational technology in learning and teaching. E-learning is synonymous with multimedia learning, technology – enhanced learning (TEL), computer based interaction (CBL), computer based training (CBT), computer-assisted instruction or computer aided instruction (CAI), internet based training (IBT), web-based training (WBT), online education, virtual education, virtual learning environment (VTE) (which is also called learning platforms) and digital educational collaboration (DEC).
E-learning if integrated into business education programme could attract the following benefits to the students, lecturers and other stakeholders in business education:
– Provide access to information with the latest technologies to support professionalism in business education (Ile and Okoli, 2003).
– Enhance the development of standard through curriculum development design and innovation, which will put in place appropriate human and material instructional resources for effective teaching and learning.
– Help to engage student in learning process and skills which will be useful in social life and in the world of work.
– It promotes motivation of students and teachers to engage in research for indebt knowledge in business education, information communication technology and general education.
According to World Bank (2002), tertiary education is seen as the capstone of the traditional education pyramid. As the apex of educational structure, it is a critical pillar of human development which provides a life-long learning framework for training high-level skilled human capital resources in all spheres of life namely, teachers, doctors, nurses, civil servants, engineers, humanities, entrepreneurs, scientist and myriad of personnel(Aduwa-Ogiegbaen & Imogie, 2005). Aduwa and Imogie further maintained that improved tertiary education is necessary for sustainable progress in basic education. With the advent of globalization and information revolution, education is expected to create intellectual capacity on which knowledge production and utilization depends on. It is also expected to play a key role in promoting life long learning practices that is necessary for updating people’s knowledge and skills. To achieve this, tertiary institutions need to change their instruction modes of operation and delivery by taking advantage of e-learning technologies, which is an integral part of information communication technology (ICT).
Government, particularly at the federal and state levels in conjunction with some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have contributed towards the promotion and provision of information communication technology facilities and capacity building in some Nigerian tertiary institutions. However, a bit more is needed in this regard. The inclusion of information communication technology courses is compulsory in all courses in Nigerian tertiary institution and as a major feature in business education courses point to the fact that ICT and e-learning is a necessity and of great importance, if we are to achieve the millennium development goals of the UNESCO. Despite the huge financial investment by government and non-governmental agencies on ICT, the slow pace of acquiring the needed state of the art facilities in the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education, but e-learning tools and technologies for business education service delivery is still unpopular, irrespective of the fact that the new wind of change calls for its utilization. Certain factors pose as challenges and constraints to the utilization of e-learning technologies are dearth of fund, irregular supply of electricity, high capital intensive nature of ICT facilities, dearth of qualified and insufficient human resources, traditional mentality of some teachers, and lack of dynamism to shift from old to new instructional delivery system – e-learning.
The focus of this research is on the availability and utilization of e-learning technologies for effective delivery in business education programme of tertiary institutions. If an improved tertiary institution is necessary for sustainable progress in intellectual capacity building in terms of knowledge and skills, business education as a field of study provides the opportunity for teaching and learning business attitudes, concepts, skills and knowledge for the world of work and self sustainability, while e-learning serves as the instructional electronic media through which business education programme is delivered. In this regard therefore, it is important to conduct an empirical investigation into the strategies for utilization of e-learning tools and technologies and ascertain its effectiveness in business education programme in tertiary institutions in the present dispensation of globalization in science, technology and economic development.
Statement of the Problem
The world is technologically getting advanced. It is sometimes referred to as a global village. The reason for this assertion is attributed to the influence of information and communication technology. E-learning as a matter of fact is fast becoming popular in business education instructional delivery method, most especially in tertiary institutions in Europe, America, and other developed and technologically advanced countries. In Nigeria, its usage as instructional method of teaching and learning in business education programme of tertiary institutions needs to be emphasized in line with what obtains in other part of the world. Pedagogic application of ICT involves effective learning with the aid of computer and other information technologies serve as learning aids, which play complementary roles in teaching and learning situations. Technologies such as e-learning necessitate and facilitate learning. The use of new methods promotes learning at a distance, and on one’s own and pace possible. Modeling, simulation, use of data base, guided instruction, closed world exploration results, in changes in terms of teaching strategy, instructional content, role of the teachers and context of the curricular is made obvious and inevitable. Furthermore, utilization of e-learning tools and technologies enhances motivation, help recall previous learning, and provide new instructional stimulus for the learners.
However, there is dearth of enough e-learning tools and technologies that are required for teaching and learning. In addition, many teachers and students do not have the required skills and competency in the utilization of e-learning for impacting business education courses.
The light of the above observations inspired the researcher’s curiosity to investigate the availability and utilization of e-learning technologies in business education programme in Nigeria tertiary institutions. In addition to the above, is the rising dissatisfaction among employers of labour on the poor performance and competencies, skills of business education graduates in the use of e-learning technologies in the new world of work. The implication of this is that business education graduates becomes unemployable and unfit either in a paid job or self employment and sustainability. This unfortunate situation is obviously a problem which will necessitate the need to determine the extent of utilization, possible benefits, problems and strategies of enhancing e-learning tools and technologies in business education programme of tertiary institutions in Delta State. This will fill the missing gap and streamline the skills acquired in school with what is required by the industry. Since business education is for and about work.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the availability and utilization of e-learning technologies in relation to teaching and learning of business education programme of tertiary institutions in Delta State. Specifically, the study will:
1. Determine the extent to which e-learning technologies are available for use in business education programme in tertiary institutions in Delta State.
2. Determine the extent to which e-learning technologies are utilized in business education programme in tertiary institutions in Delta State.
3. To identify the major problems and constraints against the use of e-learning technologies for pedagogical application in business education programme of tertiary institutions in Delta State.
4. To determine strategies for improving the availability of e-learning technologies for teaching and learning of business education programme of tertiary institutions in Delta State.
5. To determine strategies for improving the utilization of e-learning technologies in business education programme of tertiary institutions in Delta State.
The following research questions were raised to guide the study:
1. To what extent are e-learning technologies available in business education programme in tertiary institutions in in Delta State?
2. To what extent are e-learning technologies utilized in business education programme of tertiary institutions in Delta State?
3. What are the major constraints against the use of e-learning technologies in business education programme of tertiary institutions in Delta State?
4. What are the strategies for improving the availability of e-learning technologies for business education programme of tertiary institutions in Delta State?
5. What are the strategies for improving the utilization of e-learning technologies for business education programme of tertiary institutions in Delta State.
The following null hypotheses were formulated and will be tested in this study at 0.05 level of significance:
1. There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of business educators in the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education on the extent of availability of e-learning technologies for business education in tertiary institutions in Delta State.
2. There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of male and female business educators on the extent of utilization of e-learning technologies in business education programme of tertiary institutions in Delta State.
3. There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of business educators in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education on the constraints against the utilization of e-learning technologies in business education programmes of tertiary institutions in Delta State.
4. There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of male and female business educators on the strategies for improving availability of e-learning technologies in business education programmes of tertiary institutions in Delta State.
5. There is no significant different in the mean ratings of business educators in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education on the strategies for improving utilization of e-learning technologies in business education programmes of tertiary institutions in Delta State.
Significance of the Study
The significance of the study is centered on the students, business educators, educational planner, administrators and the general public. There are a lot of benefits to derive on the use of e-learning technologies. The findings of the study will encourage business educators and students to develop skills and competencies in e-learning technologies for teaching and learning in business education programme.
Curriculum planners will be made to design curriculum that will encourage and emphasize technology driven education at the 21st century in business education course contents which will improve students’ skills and competencies for employability and self sustainability.
The study will provide improved performance in terms of teaching and learning abilities of business educators and students of tertiary institutions in Delta State. It will also promote conveniences and flexibility of students through self paced and time, as well as increased access to instructors of best quality through share of knowledge across boarders, viz online and internet connectivity.
Additionally, administrators and managers of business education in tertiary institutions in Delta State will be able to access students’ payments, records, admission, evaluating and results, on-line registration, online assessment and exchange programmes. Finally, alumni, parents and the general public will be able to access the websites of business education programmes in tertiary institutions, Delta State for general information, and students’ follow-up programmes.
Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is on the assessment of the availability and utilization of e-learning technologies for effective delivery of business education programme in tertiary institutions in Delta State. Therefore, business educators in tertiary institution in Delta State that offers business education programme are involved in the study. The institutions are Universities and Colleges of Education. It will determine the extent of availability and utilization of e-learning technologies, in tertiary business education, and constraints in teaching and learning of business education programme of tertiary institutions in Delta State.