A phenomenological Investigation of Learner Usage Patterns, Attitudes and Perceptions of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and technological Preparedness for the Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis
O Keeney, Antoinette
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This exploratory phenomenological investigation addresses the lack of regional data regarding learners’ perceptions and attitudes towards ICT in learning environments. The substantial dependence on information and communication technologies (ICT) necessitates relevant and appropriate evaluating usage tools. Measures of usage, attitudes, and perceptions towards ICT and in particular, digital and social media are varied and this can hinder the comparability of data (Costa et al, 2016). Furthermore, many of today’s learners are digital natives (Prensky, 2011) and this makes the necessity to assess behaviours and attitudes in ICT usage even more pertinent (Costa et al, 2016). This study is focussed on adult learners that are currently in or recently completed an educational course of study. The empirical study was composed of a mixed-method questionnaire of open-ended questions that gave insights into learner’s usage of technology and their views and perceptions of technology within their respective learning environment. The study data from 84 participants was analysed and summarised and emerging themes were identified. The research study found that participants had a wide range of ICT usage patterns and range of experience of using technology both for everyday use and in learning environments. Participants had both positive and negative views towards ICT technology usage and diverse opinions on the challenges and benefits it delivers. Areas of particular significance are ICT usage patterns, ICT devices, access to devices, perception, and attitudes of ICT in learning and technological preparedness for online learning due to the pandemic crisis. This research will inform and influence educators on learner technology usage patterns and provide learner opinions and behaviours relating to technology. In addition, it will offer an insight on dependency on technology and how prepared learners were technologically for the Covid-19 pandemic where learners were forced to switch to online based courses with very little forewarning.
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