Countries like Saudi Arabia, where university undergraduates have displayed a remarkable paradigm shift in attitude to embrace e-learning as a radical alternative to formal instructional method of learning. This paucity of literature on the subject has weighed more on my effort to produce a comprehensive study on the hitherto less explored phenomenon of e-learning by undergraduate Arabic language students in the King Khalid University in Saudi Arabia. “ E-learning is a broad-based combination of processes, content and infrastructure to use computers and networks to scale or/and to improve one or more significant parts of a learning value chain including management and delivery” (Adrich, 2004, 240).
At the King Khalid University in Saudi Arabia, which spends a huge percentage of its annual budget on e-learning, the Arabic language students have, for the first time, been exposed to this novel experience of learning in an informal technology-mediated environment. My effort to explore, record and dissect the attitudes of these students numbering around 400 in all, led me to investigate in depth the already available literature on the subject. Attitudes are shaped by a number of factors such as culture, ethnicity, sex, age, socio-economic status, individual predilections or prejudices about a subject and even individual experience and exposure to it.
However, expectations play a still bigger role in shaping the attitude of the potential e-learner (Allen and Allen, 2003, p. E-learning outcomes are subject to a series of variances and co-variances depending on the e-learner environment and attitudinal perspectives thereof which, in turn, are influenced by the very environment. Expectations are generated in this environment and higher the expectations, the greater the positive attitude (ibid Allen and Allen).
Expectations augmented e-learner attitudes entail very positive outcomes irrespective of the psychological impact of the former on the learning process. E-learners’ tendency to identify themselves with a more informal technology mediated environment of learning can be more rewarding at times. Dynamic e-learning programs are designed and executed by university authorities with this particular perspective on mind. Their objectives in designing and implementing such programs might vary, though the ultimate aim could be nothing other than speeding up the process of learning both qualitatively and quantitatively.
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