Factors influencing the use of the internet in learning among Bachelor of Education (Arts) Distance Learners: a case of the Meru Extra Mural Centre, University of Nairobi
Kitua, Dorothy M
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Communication plays an important role in the learning process. It enables the sharing of information, thoughts and ideas which contribute to learning, that is, creates opportunities for learning .Any sort of learning to take place. Good communication is a prerequisite for successful learning. Since the nature of distance education is that there is no face-to-face interaction between the teacher and the learner, many institutions offering distance learning courses., give communication a lot of emphasis .This has led many of these institutional establishing more effective modes of communication in their distance learning programmes in order to compensate for the lack of face-to-face interaction. Communication is essential in all spears of human life. Lack of effective communication is therefore a great barrier to the attainment of goals of any organization. Distance education, also called open or distance learning, is a form of education in which there is normally a separation between teachers and learners in time and space. Thus, it incorporates the use of printed and written word, the telephone, computer conferencing or teleconferencing to bridge the physical gap between the tutor and the learner. Thus, effective communication is a vital ingredient of distance education for it to be successful. Despite the alarming increase in distance education programmes in the University of Nairobi and the set up of communication centers, effective communication is still an issue of concern. This study aimed at identifying the factors that influence the use of the internet in learning at the Meru extra mural center. The study strived to determine the use of the internet as a channel of communication used in learning as well as the social, student and university related factors affecting the use of this channel of communication. The researcher employed descriptive survey design, gathering information from distance education students and the staff at the Meru extra mural centre using questionnaires. Quantitative data was analyzed according to the objectives using descriptive statistics to show a comparison between factors while inferential statistics specifically the independent sample t-test was used to determine the relationships between the dependent and the independent variables. Data was then presented in form of tables and charts for interpretation. The'social factors identified were found not to have significant effect on frequency of use of internet by distance learners while the university and learner factors had significant effects on use of internet by distance learners. The researcher recommends that the university should offer computer training for all students and allow free access to university computers and internet.