THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE SOCIAL NETWORK IN HIGHER EDUCATION IN SAUDI ARABIA: ACTION RESEARCH TO DEVELOP AN E-LEARNING CONCEPTUAL MODEL BASED ON BLOG TOOLS
During the last two decades, there has been great interest in integrating computers and technology in higher education. Currently web tool services for learning have attracted researchers in the field of education technology to integrate eLearning within the learning environment. In particular, the Internet has become an increasingly important and novel feature of the modern learning environment. Amongst the innovations, a certain tool has become extremely popular worldwide. It is known as web 2.0. It is a read/write web. Blogs (web logs) are one its fastest growing features. The researcher investigated the exciting prospect of developing an eLearning environment by utilizing and applying effective blogs. To date there has been little use of blogs as online tools in higher education, especially in Saudi Arabia. This study concerned the disclosure of more understanding of the use of web 2.0 applications in higher education in Saudi universities. The first purpose of this study was to develop an eLearning model for web 2.0. Its second purpose was to examine learners’ perceptions and attitudes toward web 2.0 applications, i.e. blog tools by exploring the relationship between learners’ attitudes toward blog tool instructions and factors identified as potentially influencing these attitudes. This research adopted an approach based on an interpretive philosophical paradigm accompanied by a qualitative methodology coupled with action research methods. Learning theories were considered as a theoretical framework. The learning theories considered was Behaviorism, Cognitive and Constructivism with Bloom’s Taxonomy and Boud’s Model. Data was collected qualitatively and analyzed thematically. Triangulation was conducted upon the outcomes of the questionnaires, interviews, observations and blog content analysis. This research made four main contributions. First, it identified the factors that influenced learner acceptance for the use of blog tools in higher education. Second, it investigated the relationship between learners’ attitudes and their acceptance of the utilization of blog tools within their learning environment. Third, it responded to calls from the literature review to investigate blog utilization by conducting an in-depth investigation that utilized qualitative methodology with action research. Lastly, it provided further insight and a better understanding of blog usage with respect to structured/ unstructured learning environments.
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