Increasing the use of e-learning platforms in tertiary learning institutions for blended distance programmes in Zambia
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As Zambia embarks on attainment of vision 2030 which spells that Zambia must reach a middle income status by the year 2030, highly skilled human capital to transform the social and economic landscape is necessary for poverty alleviation and enhancement of prosperity, the increase in the usage of e-learning platforms in tertiary learning institutions for blended distance programmes is a major leap to this attainment, hence the aim of this study. The main aim of the study was to increase the use of E- Learning platforms in the tertiary learning institutions for blended distance programmes. The objectives were to: (i) Describe the level to which e-learning platforms have been used by the tertiary learning institutions in Zambia. (ii) Identify the major challenges faced by tertiary learning institutions in increasing the usage of e-learning platforms in Zambia. (iii) Prescribe measures that would increase the usage of e-learning platforms in tertiary learning institutions in Zambia. The study was conducted at Evelyn Hone College, National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) and Lusaka Business and Technical Colleges. The study covered five years time frame from 2015 to 2019 with regard to the environment surrounding e-learning platforms at the three institutions. The research used cross-sectional, pragmatic and mixed methods research design. In terms of sampling techniques, the study used Stratified Simple Random Sampling and Purposive or Judgmental Sampling. Each of the colleges was considered to be a stratum. The quantitative data was collected using two different Likert Scaled questionnaires for both lecturers and students while qualitative data was collected through focus group discussions. The quantitative data was analysed using Stata/SE 12.0 Package for Social Sciences researches and the qualitative data was analysed thematically. The study demonstrated that the level of use of the e-learning platforms in the three institutions of learning was relatively high with the following statistics, for lecturers; Evelyn Hone College (EHC) it was 28.89%, Lusaka Business and technical Colleges (LBTC) it stood at 57.77% and National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) it was at 65.31% while for students it stood as follows; Evelyn Hone College (EHC) it was 14.52%, Lusaka Business and Technical Colleges (LBTC) it was at 21.43%, and National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) it was at 65.83%. While the major bottlenecks to increasing the usage of e-learning platforms among colleges were inadequate training and lack of software and hardware facilities. In order to boost the utilisation of e-learning platforms, the colleges needed to make the e-learning platforms more user friendly (Ease of use), invest in appropriate hardware and software and alternative sources of power, and consider retraining the e-learning platforms users. Key Words: Evelyn Hone College, National Institute of Public Administration, Lusaka Business and Technical College.
The University of Zambia