1Odhiambo Stephen Owino | 2Professor Edward K. Mburugu
The importance of education is increasing because of increasing pressure to catch up with the developed world regarding, for example, global competitiveness (Hawkins 2002). Before the introduction of e-learning many people who wanted to obtain university degree had to compete for the few places that were offered by the public universities. Those offered places had to apply for study leave as they had to go through the traditional learning system. This kind of further education system was characterized by limited number of students that could be absorbed per an academic year and consequent removal from their places of work for the duration of their study. From the reviewed literature, it can be deduced that there seems to be no research studies on the joint contributions of e-learners’ socio-demographic, hours spent online/offline and prior computer skills variables to their academic performance. Whereas, researchers and theorists (Coldeway, 1986; Calvert, 1986; Garrison, 1987; Kumar, 2001) have stressed the need for a comprehensive approach, taking into account all the experiences of e-learners as well as the unique aspects of e-learning environment. In addition, it has also been observed that little research has been devoted to exploring factors that predict the academic performance of e-learners (Cookson, 1989) while those that even exist concentrated largely on demographic correlates as a component in their studies (Kumar, 2001). Several studies have been carried out on academic performance especially on conventional students, but not much on e-learning students within the Kenyan educational system. The need to sever this ground so as to extend the frontier of knowledge in order to help improve the unimpressive e-learners’ academic performance necessitates and serves as the motivating factor for undertaking the present piece of research so as to fill the existing important research gap.
Keywords: E-Learning, Academic Performance, IT Education