Factors influencing use of computers in accessing information by distance learners: a case of Bachelor of Education (Arts) students of the University of Nairobi
Use of computers in accessing information is crucial to continued scientific advancement and to technological progress (Hughes, 1994). Information accessibility today through use of computer application skills is unprecedented (Kochmer, 1995). It is not exaggeration to suggest that majority of the people(students, teachers, lectures, researchers, journalists and others) who are hungry for information, are turning to computers, almost pushing the traditional sources (books, magazines, journalist, libraries)to the periphery (Ely,1995). This study sought to establish the factors influencing use of computers in accessing information by distant learners. This research was guided by the following objectives: to establish the influence of learners' level of knowledge, experience in computer application skills, attitudes towards computer application skills- on accessibility of information. Literature reviewed showed a disparity between the expected levels of access to information by distant learners and what really the case on the ground was. Purposeful sampling method was used to get the sample of the study. Data was collected using questionnaires. The findings of this research indicate that distance learners lack computer application skills and this has influenced their access to information. The study also establishes that level of knowledge in computer application skills and learners' attitudes towards computers has influence on learners' access to information. The study recommends that educational institutions should teach and train their students in computers skills starting at an early age and even before students enrol for distance learning. The study also recommends the availing of computers to distance learners at cheaper prices. From the findings, the study also recommends that distance learners start to value computers.