Online Learning for Students with Limited ICT Access and Skills

University essay from Lunds universitet/Innovationsteknik

Abstract: Education is by the UN stated to be the foundation to creating sustainable development. Lately, there has been a tremendous increase in the use of information and communications technology (ICT) for educational purposes worldwide, but as many countries lag behind both in terms of uptake and usage of ICT, this limits their populations’ chances to participate. Given this, the aim of this thesis was to investigate and evaluate factors affecting the usage of online learning amongst university students in Tanzania with limited ICT access and skills. The study also aimed to explore the objectives, opportunities, and challenges for these students to pursue online learning. The study, performed in collaboration with the Swedish-Tanzanian NGO Help to Help, can be divided into two parts: First, a pre study consisting of a thorough literature review and interviews with field experts. Secondly, a single case study, including a questionnaire and qualitative interviews, with university students attending the Help to Help Academy program. Overall, 57 factors affecting online learning were identified and investigated. In general, the Tanzanian students expressed great interest in using online learning with the main objective being increased access to material and courses. An important insight was that when initiating online learning it is important to not take things for granted and be attentive of the target group. Learning is an individual experience and the key to succeed, both online and offline, is to understand the group that is supposed to learn. The findings of this study contribute to online learning theory by elaborating on the evolution and definition of online learning. In addition, the findings contribute to digital literacy theory by evolving on the digital setting in Tanzania for urban students. Finally, this study shows that online learning is a great source of potential to ensure quality education for all, but that there is a need for more user-centered studies and contextualized online learning platforms.

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