Comparative Analysis of e-Learning Readiness of Two State Agricultural Universities in India

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COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF E-LEARNING READINESS OF TWO STATE AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITIES IN INDIA

Yogita Navani1 and M.A. Ansari2

1Department of Agriculture, Roorkee College of Engineering, Roorkee  

2Department of Agricultural Communication, College of Agriculture, GBPUA&T, Pantnagar

Email*: yogita..navani@gmail.com

Received: 04-07-2019                                                                               Accepted: 25-12-2019

 E-Learning has emerged as the new paradigm of modern education, combining online components with the conventional face to face components. It is now an alternative mode of teaching and learning in higher education in the country. Higher education institutes /universities are now motivated to include e-Learning courses as an alternative method in education. But teachers as we as students / learners are not prepared as we as reluctant to take up e-Learning. So, researches need to be conducted for analyzing the readiness of stakeholders in universities whether they are ready in the uptake of e-Learning. The present research compares the e-Learning readiness of two State Agricultural Universities. It was found that the teachers of Punjab Agricultural University were found to be more e-ready in all the dimensions of e-Learning readiness.

Key words: e-Learning, e-Learning Readiness, Readiness

 Introduction

Rapid growth and advancements in the field of educational technology has been churning the current educational system. Technology does not have an educational value in itself until it is incorporated in the teaching-learning process, either in classroom or outside Technological advancement has led to radical changes in the way education is being imparted. Evolution of internet and advancement in information and communication technology has led to emergence of new approaches in teaching, learning and training. Higher education institutes/universities are now motivated to include e-Learning courses as an alternative method in education. But teachers as we as students/learners are not prepared as we as reluctant to take up e-Learning. This is due to the insufficiency or absence of computer related basics kills or the anxiety in using technology in education. So, researches need to be conducted for analyzing the readiness of stakeholders in universities whether they are e-ready in the uptake of e-Learning offering more flexible learning environment. The concept of e-Learning is still vague to many of us in India. E-Learning is essential electronic learning and is delivered online through a computer or any other electronic gadget such as smart phone, tablet, PDAs etc in different sectors and with different people, the meaning of e-Learning differ. Many higher education instructions now a days are offering e-Learning to their students in fact, e-Learning is a useful medium through which India can attain the goal of reaching the unreached in rural areas, motivating the learners for higher education as we as achieve the goals of woman empowerment through their education. Some of the initiatives in India are Satellite for Education (EDUSAT) in 1970, Net varsity, country’s first online educational enterprise by National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) in 1996, Teaching Shoppe, or the benefit in the field school level education and for preparing students for competitive examinations like the medical and engineering entrance tests, National Task Force on Information Technology and software Development (NTFITSD) constituted by the Prime Minister of India in1998,Virtual Campus Initiatives (VCI) by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in 1999, Electronics Engineering Diploma Programme (EEDP) by Yashwant Rao Chavan Maharastra Open University (YCMOU) for students’ use as a discussion forum to discuss concepts and clarify doubts, School of Social Sciences at the Tahereh et al., (2010) observed that e-Learning as a solution, the possibility of widespread use, access and sharing of knowledge unmatched by other types of Instruction delivery. Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) started a Post-Graduate certificate in Participatory Management of Displacement e-Learning and e-Learning readiness. Liaw et al., (2007) define e-Learning as the convergence of technology and learning, and the use of network technologies to facilitate learning anytime, anywhere. Davis (2001) describes e-Learning as technology-enabled learning that covers various   concepts, or phenomenon delivering instructions through technology. Rosenberg (2001) refers to e-Learning as using Internet technologies to deliver various solutions to learners. Holley (2000) states that e-Learning is difficult to implement without the full cooperation and support of lecturers, as the degree of interaction between lecturers and students is still predominant in e-Learning environments. Nowadays, e-Learning has become an accepted educational paradigm across universities worldwide (OECD, 2005). The e-Learning systems are a kind of technological developments that have reformed and restructured the delivery and interaction of students and teachers with course materials and related resources. The e-Learning systems have been widely used in developed countries and have recently become more common in many developing countries the importance of electronic media can’t be ignored for many reasons it can play a critical role in equipping modern university teachers with sophisticated and innovative learning tool. Neeru (2009) reported about the transformation of higher education in the country in terms of access, equity and quality due increased to usage of ICT in education. Therefore , integration of ICT in to teaching and learning process with empower teachers to focus on student centered approach,  active and interactive learning, connecting with learner experiences and needs,  and development of critical and ethical understandings of the value of the use of ICT. Readiness includes learners’ awareness and ability to adapt to technological challenges, collaborative learning in synchronous as well as asynchronous modes. Readiness for an organization intending to adopt e-Learning can be defined as the “mental or physical (infrastructural) preparedness for that organization for some e-Learning experience or action”. It is important to comprehend that readiness can’t take only binary values; rather it is a continuous process. Machado (2007) explained e-readiness in context of higher education as “the ability of Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) and the capacity of institutional stakeholders to generate learning opportunities by facilitating computer-based technologies. Therefore, e-Learning readiness is required in making sure the users are capable of using the e-Learning environment technology in the best way possible. Technically speaking, e-Learning readiness is the capability of prospective e-Learning users in using an e-Learning environment as well as the usage of alternative technology.

The e-Learning readiness of faculty in this study shall include their readiness to integrate latest ICTs in the classroom situations, technical competency in educational content management (e.g. designing and uploading educational content on the web, online supervision and evaluation systems, etc.) and their attitude towards e-Learning as a mode of instruction.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The present study was done as to compare two State Agricultural Universities: Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana and Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya, Palampur. The study sample included teachers of all the 3 designations (Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Professor) so, in order to give equal representation to the three designations, stratified random sampling with proportional allocation was used for selecting the teachers of State Agricultural Universities. Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, is a State Agricultural University in India; it was established in 1962 and is the nation’s second oldest agricultural university, after Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar. It has a reputation for excellence in agriculture education, research and extension. Punjab Agricultural University is said to have pioneered the Green Revolution in India in the 1960s and is considered as one of the best agricultural universities in India it was bifurcated in 2005 with the formation of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University at Ludhiana (Punjab). The College of Agriculture of Punjab Agricultural University had its roots in the east while Punjab Agricultural College and Research institute, Lyalpur (now Faisalabad, Pakistan) in 1963, the College of Agriculture had five departments (Departments of Agronomy, Extension Education, Horticulture, Plant Breeding and Soils) but now there are ten departments viz., Agronomy, Agrometerology and Forestry & Natural Resources, Extension Education, Horticulture, Plant Breeding, Soils, Entomology, Plant Pathology, Floriculture & Landscaping, Food Science & Technology, and Vegetable Sciences. Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya (HPKV), Palampur recently renamed as Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya (in June, 2001), was established on November, 1978 as an expansion of the existing College of Agriculture (established in May, 1966, and initiaya part of the old Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana) the College of Agriculture, Palampur formed the nucleus of the new agriculture university (HPKV). It has been accredited by the ICAR and is an ISO 9001:2008 certified institutions over the years; the University has contributed significantly in transforming the farm scenario of Himachal Pradesh. Today, the State has earned its name for agricultural diversification and the farming community has imposed its faith in the University the College of Agriculture of HPKV has 13 departments, viz., Agricultural Biotechnology, Agricultural Economics, Extension Education and Rural Sociology, Agricultural Engineering, Agronomy, for age and Grassland Management, Crop Improvement, Entomology, Horticulture, Organic Agriculture, Plant Pathology, Seed Science & Technology, Soil Science, Tea Husbandry & Technology, Vegetable Science & Floriculture.

Selection of teachers: on the basis of designation of different teachers in the university, strata were formed Assistant Professors or equivalent constituted the first stratum, Associate Professors or equivalent constituted the second strata and Professors or equivalent constituted the third strata Stratified random sampling following PPS (Probability proportional to size) was used to select the study sample.

This was achieved in the following way

nh 1=(N h1/ N)*n

Where, nh1=sample size for stratum h1

Nh1=population size for stratum h1

N=total population size

n=total sample size

 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

As per Retisa Mutiaradevi’s (2009) e-Learning readiness framework, we compare the e-Learning readiness of SAUs i.e. Punjab Agricultural University and Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya. In terms of Technological Skill Readiness, Punjab Agricultural University scored higher than the other; this indicate that its faculty are beer equipped and more technological competent in terms of Technological Skill Readiness.

In respect of online learning style readiness, Punjab Agricultural University scored higher than the other two Universities. This indicate that its faculty were able to follow the direction on a computer screen, use online tools (emails, chats ) to work on assignments with learners.

Regarding, Infrastructure readiness, Punjab Agricultural University scored higher than the other which means that its faculty had access to a fairly new computer with MS word, adobe acrobat. This indicate that its faculty had positive attitude towards e-Learning. Further, that sing e-Learning technology would increase their job possibility. Teachers had positive attitude towards importance of e-Learning and were constantly motivating themselves, they were positive in giving sometime for self-development out of their busy schedule and moreover they had confidence in using advanced technology in teaching / learning process In terms of Human resources readiness, Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya scored higher than the other which indicates that its faculty can design web pages for e-Learning, and can mode rate online discussions etc.

With respect of, Environmental readiness, Punjab Agricultural University scored higher than the other; this indicate that its faculty a central agency to plan an active role in regulating e-Learning initiatives inside the university. This indicate that its faculty understand that e-Learning is alternative method of disseminating information to the students but face to face is the best method. In terms of last constituent of e-Learning readiness, i.e. Financial readiness, Punjab  Agricultural University scored higher than the other University; this indicate that its faculty have access to advanced and updated computer systems and the University easily sanctions the loan, if it is demanded to install  system in education.

Testing of hypothesis: Z- test is a statistical test where normal distribution is applied and is basically used for dealing with problems relating to large samples

When n≥30 So, Z- test was applied for each significance level, the Z- test has a single critical value Z value should be more than 1.95 and less than -1.95 for two tailed table value 4331

H0: Males have positive attitude towards e-Learning (ATE) and thus they have higher total e-Learning readiness (ELR) scores as compared to females

H1: Males does not have positive attitude towards e-Learning (ATE) and thus they do not have higher total e-Learning readiness (ELR) scores as compared to females

It is evident from the results presented in table 4 that null hypotheses for all the three SAUs are rejected (non-significant). Thus, it indicates that H1 hypothesis is accepted. So, we can conclude that gender doesn’t have any influence on total e-Learning readiness.

H0: Young teachers are more inclined towards computer and technology and thus have higher total e-learning readiness (ELR) scores as compared to middle and older teachers

H1: Young teachers are not inclined towards computer and technology and thus do not have higher total e-learning readiness (ELR) scores as compared to middle and older       teachers.

It can be clearly seen in the results presented in table3 that null hypothesis was accepted for Punjab Agricultural University, which means that young teachers were more inclined towards computer and technology while for Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya null hypotheses were rejected. This indicates that age doesn’t play a role in determining e-Learning readiness of teacher.

 REFERENCES

  1. Liaw, S., Huang, H., and Chen, G. 2007. Surveying Instructor and Learner Attitudes toward eLearning. Computers & Education, 49 (4): 10661080.

  1. Davis, S.2001.What eLearning can learn from History. USDLA Journal, 15 (10): 64465
  2. Machado, C. 2007. Developing an e-readiness model for higher education institutions: results of a focus group study. British Journal of Educational Technology, 38 (1): 72-82.
  3. Rosenber g, M. J.2001. Elearning: Strategies for delivering knowledge in the Digital age. Boston: McGrawHill Professional.
  4. Tahereh, E., Mona, M. and Noor, A. 2010. Assessment of Instructors’ readiness for implementing e-learning in CME in Iran. Medical Teacher, 32:1-10.
  5. Holley, D. 2000. “Which room is the virtual seminar in please?” Education and Training, 44 (3):112-121.
  6. OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). 2005. e-Learning in tertiary education: Where do we stand? Education & Skills, 4:1-293.
  7. Neeru, S. 2009 .ICT in Indian Universities and Colleges. Management and Change. 13 ( 2) : 10611

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