One major challenge in online education is how to select appropriate e-learning tools for different learning tasks. Based on the premise of Task-Technology Fit Theory, this study suggests that the effectiveness of student learning in online courses depends on the alignment between two. Furthermore, it conceptualizes the formation of such a fit through the lens of Media Synchronicity Theory: each type of learning tasks in the online environment require a certain level of media synchronicity, and various e-learning tools enable different levels of media synchronicity. Their alignment forms along two dimensions of media synchronicity: the purpose dimension ranging from conveyance to convergence and the process dimension ranging from asynchronous to synchronous. The conceptualization leads to research hypotheses that posit the aligned relationships between learning tasks and e-learning tools in terms of purpose and process. The hypotheses were tested with the observations collected from an experiment, and the conjoint analysis results support that students do perceive and prefer the fit between learning tasks and e-learning tools along the two dimensions. The findings yield helpful insights on the best practices concerning the utilization of information technology for the enhancement of student learning outcomes in online course design.
Sun, J., Wang, Y. (2014). Tool Choice for E-Learning: Task-Technology Fit through Media Synchronicity. Information Systems Education Journal, 12(4) pp 17-28. http://isedj.org/2014-12/ ISSN: 1545-679X. (A preliminary version appears in The Proceedings of ISECON 2013)
Information Systems Education Journal