Students’ intentions to use PBWorks: a factor-based PLS-SEM approach

Publication Date08 Jul 2019
AuthorEddie W.L. Cheng,Samuel K.W. Chu,Carol S.M. Ma
SubjectLibrary & information science
Studentsintentions to use
PBWorks: a factor-based
PLS-SEM approach
Eddie W.L. Cheng
Department of Social Sciences, Education University of Hong Kong,
Tai Po, Hong Kong, and
Samuel K.W. Chu and Carol S.M. Ma
Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
Purpose Wikis, as one of the Web 2.0 tools, has been increasingly used to engage students to learnwith
others in a collaborative virtual environment. However, there are relatively few studies examining the
applicationof wikis in secondary schools. Therefore, this study aims to investigate factorsaffecting the use of
PBWorks (a popularwiki tool).
Design/methodology/approach The aim was achieved by empirically examining an extended
technology acceptance model (TAM) from a sample of 429 junior secondary students in Hong Kong.
Specically, relationshipsamong six latent variables, which were school support, teacher support,perceived
ease of use, perceived usefulness,attitudes towards use and the intention to use, were posited in the model.
The more robust factor-basedpartial least squares structural equation modelling(factor-based PLS-SEM) was
used to test the researchmodel.
Findings The results indicated that most of the hypotheses were supported, which suggested that the
extendedTAM could explain the rationale behind studentsintentions to use PBWorksfor group projects.
Originality/value This paper extended the originalTAM by including two additional variables (school
support and teachersupport) for explaining behavioural intentions.Because of the increased use of e-learning
platforms in secondaryschools, more understanding of what motivatessecondary school studentse-learning
intentionsis necessary.
Keywords Wikis, Collaboration, e-learning, Peer learning, Factor-based PLS-SEM, PBWorks
Paper type Research paper
With the advancement of Web 2.0 technologies, students are able to create knowledge in a
virtual environment (Sadaf et al.,2012). Such technologies are applied to develop students
awareness, attitudes and abilities to efciently use digital tools (Huang et al.,2013). One of
the possible areas that social media can assistin student learning is the application of Web-
based tools in studentsgroup projects (Cheng et al.,2016). Web technology applications,
such as blogs, wikis, Facebook, Twitter and Google Doc, enable computer-supported
collaborative learning so that students can develop Web contents collaboratively without
restriction of time and place (Chu and Kennedy, 2011).Alterman and Harsch (2017) referred
to this as loosely coupled collaborationsthat support joint problem solving. One of the most
This study was funded by the General Research Fund of the Research Grants Council of the Hong
Kong SAR Government (grant number: HKU 743510H). The authors would like to thank the
reviewers for their constructive comments on a previous version of the paper.
intentions to
use PBWorks
Received26 May 2018
Revised3 April 2019
Accepted29 April 2019
Informationand Learning
Vol.120 No. 7/8, 2019
pp. 489-504
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/ILS-05-2018-0043
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
popular social media tools derived from Web 2.0 technologies is wikis, which, as evolved in
1995 by Ward Cunningham, the father of wikis (Tay, 2009;Chu et al.,2013), are an editable
website for students to read and add contentson the platform. In addition, wikis are content-
focused and process-oriented (Honegger and Notari, 2016). That is, students can visit, read,
re-organise and updatethe structure and content texts and pictures as they see t.
However, more attention should be paid to the scientic process that focuses on the
relationship between e-learning factors and learnersacceptance of technologies (Toral et al.,
2007). Among other theories, the technology acceptance model (TAM) is specically tailored
for explaining usersacceptance of an information system. The TAM, based on the theory of
reasoned action (TRA) of Fishbein and Ajzen (1975), was initially developed by Davis (1989).
According to the TRA, an individuals behaviour is determined by the intention to perform
that behaviour. The TAM has been widely used for testing technology acceptance behaviours
and has been empirically found to be robust in explaining the acceptance of information
technologies (Davis, 1989;Igbaria et al., 1995;Venkatesh and Davis, 2000;Chang and Yang,
2013;Sánchez et al., 2013), including the enhancement of e-learning (Edmunds et al., 2012;
Cheung and Vogel, 2013;Persico et al., 2014;Abdullah and Ward, 2016;Chang et al., 2017).
Given the popularity of using the TAM to study technology acceptance behaviours, the
present paper proposes the application of the TAM to examine factors affecting school
studentsintentions to use PBWorks (a popular wiki tool) as an e-learning strategy. As noted
by Davis (1993, p. 475), TAM species the causal relationships between systems design
features, perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, attitudes towards using and actual usage
behaviour.Moreover, this paper extends the original TAM by including two additional
variables (school support and teacher support) for explaining behavioural intentions. The
rationale for including these two variables in the model would be provided in the next section.
Because of the increased use of e-learning platforms in secondary schools, more understanding
of what motivates secondary school studentse-learning intentions is necessary.
Despite the challenges (e.g. ethics in learningopportunities)indevelopingstudentswith
twenty-rst-century skills (Jenkins et al.,2009;Reich et al., 2012), a wiki is regarded as an
effective tool to help promote studentsactive learning and move away from rote learning (Chu
et al., 2012). In a social networking community, students, when doing their group work, would
experience four major aspects of collaboration and interaction: information sharing,
information dissemination, communication and information gathering (Huang et al., 2015).
Such experiences can be enhanced with the use of wikis (Black, 2008;Chu, 2008;Wang and
Wei, 2011). The present study is therefore timely because it is intended to provide insights on
how secondary school studentsintentions to use Web technologies for learning through
group work can be improved. In recent years, rapid development of the Internet and
associated technologies has changed peoples information behaviours (Wu et al., 2017),
especially enhancing interaction and communication by use of social media in support of
social networking activities (Lantz-Andersson et al., 2013). Students, as active information
seekers and users, should take advantage of social media to improve their learning outcomes.
Hypothesized model
This research involves the developmentand test of an extended TAM model using a sample
of secondary school students in Hong Kong. As such, several hypotheses have been
developed and stipulated in the hypothesized model as shown in Figure 1. The hypotheses
reect the relationships of the variables that explainthe conditions for studentstechnology
acceptance in a group work context.These hypotheses are described hereinafter.

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