The moderating effect of technology optimism. How it affects students’ weblog learning

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-11-2016-0316
Pages161-180
Date11 February 2019
Published date11 February 2019
AuthorCheng-Min Chao,Tai-Kuei Yu
The moderating effect of
technology optimism
How it affects studentsweblog learning
Cheng-Min Chao
Department of Business Administration,
National Taichung University of Science and Technology, Taichung, Taiwan, and
Tai-Kuei Yu
Department of Business Administration,
National Quemoy University, Kinmen Hsien, Taiwan
Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to combine task-technology fit, theory of planned behaviour and
individual technology optimism, and propose a better hybrid technology behavioural intention model to
explain Taiwanese studentsusage behaviour for weblog learning.
Design/methodology/approach A 31-item questionnaire with eight constructs was administered to
undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in three universities in Taiwan. A total of 380 voluntary,
usable responses were received, and a research model estimated using Smart PLS was used to interpret the
structural relation results.
Findings The resultsof the research model were analysedusing a structural equationmodelling approach to
test six hypotheses and three moderating hypotheses; significant support were found for seven of them.
Accordingly, this study considered the level of technology optimism as a moderator to explore whether it
impacts perceived behavioural control, attitudes and social influences on behavioural intention related to
weblog learning.
Originality/value This research provides a better understanding of individual and system characteristics,
as well as social factors regarding weblog learning system acceptance and intention.
Keywords Theory of planned behaviour, Task-technology fit, Moderator effect, Technology optimism
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Over the last 15 years, internet use has become more advanced, and there has been rapid
growth and awareness of Web 2.0 technologies including blogs, microblogs and wikis. Such
tools allow people to share opinions, thoughts and experiences with other users (Chen et al.,
2015; Chwo, 2015; Kang et al., 2011; Mohammadyari and Singh, 2015). Many educators and
researchers (Wanget al., 2008; Yu et al., 2010) claim that if students are constantly searching
for knowledge, they will gradually better understand what they find. Applications such as:
Wikipedia, Google, and Yahoo! Answers, allowinternet users to discover knowledge through
different ways.Meanwhile, learning systemssuch as weblogs, microblogs and wikis(Lee and
Bonk, 2016; Chen et al., 2015; Kang et al., 2011; Wang et al., 2008; Yu et al., 2010) also help
learners obtain knowledge and cultivate problem-solving skills. Among these applications,
weblogs (oftenshortened to blogs) have become very prevalent, and are often used by experts
and academics to express their perspectives and interact with others.
The use rate of weblogs is still expanding, and the user population has become more
diverse (Chen et al., 2015; Lu and Hsiao, 2009; Hsu and Lin, 2008; Thelwall and Hasler, 2007).
Moreover, teaching or learning with blogs has become more popular over the last decade.
The educational affordance of blogs and proposed frameworks for using blogs to learn have Online Information Review
Vol. 43 No. 1, 2019
pp. 161-180
© Emerald PublishingLimited
1468-4527
DOI 10.1108/OIR-11-2016-0316
Received 4 November 2016
Revised 16 April 2017
28 May 2018
Accepted 15 July 2018
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/1468-4527.htm
The authors thank the National Science Council of Taiwan for financially supporting this research
under contract MOST 100-2511-S-507-001-MY3.
161
Moderating
effect of
technology
optimism
been emphasised in several research studies (e.g. Wang et al., 2016; Deng and Yuen, 2011;
Robertson, 2011; Kim, 2008; Kerawalla et al., 2009). Many researchers have investigated
educational weblog behavioural aspects connected to learnersbehaviour intentions,
including theirs perceptions and attitudes about learning with blogs (e.g. Ladyshewsky and
Gardner, 2008; Jimoyiannis and Angelaina, 2012). The aforementioned studies all focussed
on depicting how blogs can be used in teaching and learning.
Weblogs are an online tool that enables users to communicate and share information
(Lee and Bonk, 2016; Furukawa et al., 2006). They are mainly used to support the
acquisition and retrieval of codified knowledge in order to improve individual knowledge
bases. Weblogs may be viewed as an evolved form of personal web pages used to publish
personal knowledge. In the context of higher education, especially in business education,
blogs are becoming more widely used, which can also potentially improve business
studentscommunication skills, learning abilities and performance (Wang et al., 2016;
Freeman and Brett, 2012). Further, an increasing number of experts have started using
blogs to present their work, follow developments in the field, and share their ideas, and
thereby serve as an extension of the learning setting. In their study focussed on weblog
learning in the fields of business and management education, Lee and Bonk (2016)
proposed that blog owners may be motivated to be responsible for their learning with
blogs due to the ownership factor. An important part of business and management
education, e.g., marketing management, innovation management, entrepreneurial
management and organisational behaviour is to inspire studentscreative and
interactive thinking, rather than subject them to one-way instruction. Hence, this study
classifies weblog learning as an educational tool. With blogs, students can both enhance
their personal learning and share their learning experiences andopinions with instructors
and peers. Moreover, blogs allow students to post contents about assignments and discuss
their thoughts on course materials.
In the literature about technology acceptance and adoption, a considerable number of
models have been applied (e.g. the theory of reasoned action (TRA), the theory of planned
behaviour (TPB) and the technology acceptance model) to investigate and explore the
determinants of usersbehaviour towards using information technology (IT) or systems.
Among these models, the TPB is the most frequently cited and influential model in
predicting and explaining ones intention/behaviour (Ajzen, 1991, 2011). This theory is an
extension of the TRA, which considers both volitional and non-volitional aspects
(Ajzen, 1991). Since its development, TPB has been extensively used, tested and
extended to explain various human behaviours and successes in a number of application
areas such as: online learning, mobile healthcare and information system (IS) (Ajzen, 1991;
Wu et al., 2011; Yu and Yu, 2010).
While such rational-choice theories as the TPB offer limited explanation of purposive
intention/behaviour, most studies generally agree that these theories can be supplemented
with several vital predictors (Yu and Yu, 2010). User acceptance and usage behaviour
towards technology can be influenced by a variety of factors such as individual differences
and social influence. However, weblog learning does not mean learning with new
technology, but rather voluntarily using online platforms to gain knowledge and interact
with other users around the globe. The TPB is applied to discuss the behaviour of
technology adoption by considering the individual role and organisation systems in this
course (Wu et al., 2011). As the TPB does not explain variables, its ability to predict weblog
learning might be limited; yet this limitation can be overcome by extending these two
models with the task-technology fit (TTF) model, which is a commonly adopted theoretical
model for assessment of how IT causes performance and usage impacts. For an IS to
significantly affect technology application, the technology must fit the task it supports.
Because the TTF model does not address social factors, it may have restricted ability to
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