UBD study shows Bruneians interested in online learning

National 2 minutes, 21 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

HIGHER institutions of learning in Brunei can take advantage of online learning opportunities to benefit both students and institutions, according to a Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) study.

Five academics conducted a survey involving 856 respondents comprising mostly local Bruneians aged 10 to 40 years old.

They noted positive factors relating to online usage within the sultanate, making it a conducive environment to introduce online learning.

The study was published earlier this year in the Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society,

Sixty four per cent of the respondents showed interest in the prospects of online learning.

“The results showed that 67 per cent agreed that online learning would make it easier to learn, 53 per cent were convinced that it would help them obtain a better grade and 87 per cent believed that online learning was not limited to regular school hours,” said the study’s authors.

“Furthermore, 67 per cent felt that online learning would help improve the quality of their projects and 53 per cent saw it as a tool with which to share information and discuss subject-related matters,” they added.

The educational institutions could also benefit from ‘big data’ where it could provide new opportunities “to maximise the potential of data collection in relation to online learning systems”.

Big data is a broad term for large and complex sets of data that traditional data processing applications are inadequate.

It would also benefit students by providing precise customisation and personalisation of knowledge and services to cater to the needs of individual students.

The authors suggested that the adoption of big data could become the future direction of online learning as large amounts of data are received on a daily basis.

Integrating the data into online learning could possibly apply predictive relevant knowledge for each student.

“By embedding big data analytics within online learning systems, institutions can deliver services that understand contexts, predict outcomes, and continue to learn from the vast amounts of information that are continuously generated and collected,” said the study’s authors.

The data generated could also help enhance the ability of online learning systems in understanding students’ preferences and online behaviour, they added.

However, traditional learning itself should not be eliminated entirely as 93 per cent of respondents believed that “face-to-face interaction” is still very important.

A ‘blended approach’ involving a combination of ‘personal touch with personal technology’ could be done as a possible alternative.

The personal touch could be done to enable students to interact directly with teachers to avoid miscommunication while personal technology would enable students to “enjoy flexibility so that they can learn anywhere and anytime using ICT”, said the study’s authors.

“Nevertheless, online learning is not yet fully available in Brunei. Future online learning services may be promoted by a variety of providers, including the Ministry of Education, and public and private higher-education institutions,” suggested the authors.

The Brunei Times