Factors that Affect Faculty Attitudes Toward Adoption of Technology-Rich Blended Learning

Khalid Hussain Moukali, Ph.D., The University of Kansas, 2012.

Abstract


Universities worldwide are transitioning to blended learning where technology is used to enhance and augment traditional face-to-face instruction. Investigation of how well blended learning strategies are accepted and adopted in multicultural settings is needed to facilitate this transition. This study investigated factors and barriers that influence faculty attitudes toward the adoption of technology-rich blended learning at Jazan University in Saudi Arabia. The influence of faculty incentives, faculty's technology experience and demographic variables including gender, academic rank were important considerations.

In his Diffusion of Innovations model, Everett Rogers identifies five stages in the adoption process: knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation. The amount of time that transpires before adoption is influenced by several factors including readiness of the adoptees, perceived barriers and incentives. Knowledge of technologies may influence readiness for adoption of blended learning.

This study employed a mixed method approach using quantitative and qualitative data. Participants were 303 faculty members (234 male, 69 female) from 36 departments. Descriptive statistics, independent t-test, simple and multiple regression analysis, and correlation coefficients were employed. Faculty reported positive attitudes toward blended learning (M=3.94) on a five point Likert scale. Female faculty (M=2.88) reported more barriers to implementing blended learning than male faculty (M=2.49), (t 301=-4.43, p<.05). Female faculty also reported less experience in using educational technologies (M=3.54), than male faculty (M=3.95), (t 301=3.76, p<.05). Faculty experience with educational technologies was a significant predictor of attitudes toward adopting blended learning, F (1,301) =32.55, p<.05. Faculty attitudes toward adoption of blended learning were negatively correlated with perceived barriers (r= -.30, p<.05). There was a positive correlation between attitudes and perceived incentives for adopting blended learning (r=.72, p<.05).

This Saudi university is making progress toward adopting blended learning. Female faculty members appear to be at the beginning of the Rogers implementation stage while male faculty may be approaching confirmation. Male faculty may be further along in adopting blended learning because they perceive fewer barriers and they have more advanced technical skills. Adequate technical support is important for implementing blended learning. Also, professional development programs are needed to support faculty competencies on current and emerging technologies. This support should benefit the faculty's willingness and ability to support blended learning. Future research might consider the impact of various professional development support strategies and infrastructure support on the adoption of bended learning in diverse cultural settings.