Business Education Lecturers' Perception of Learning Management Systems for Effective Teaching and Learning Accounting in Universities in South-East, Nigeria.

Author:Ugwoke, Ernest
 
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Introduction

Advancement in ICT has revolutionized teaching and learning environment in different ways. Lecturers and students can easily access wealth of knowledge online, engage in synchronous and asynchronous learning, collaborate with one another and share information. Many tertiary institutions have integrated ICT into teaching and learning to prepare their students for work in modern society especially in developing countries (Dahlstrom, Brooks, & Bichsel, 2014). Among the technological tools that have gained acceptance in teaching and learning is learning management system (LMS). A Learning Management System (LMS) is a web-based software that supports instructional planning, delivery, mentoring, tracking, and reporting of learners' progress in learning. However, there has been a strong craving for technology integration into teaching and learning particularly in Nigerian universities (Liverpool, Marut, Ndam, & Oti, 2016). Although many universities in Nigeria have integrated many technological tools and models into their curriculum, lecturers in most of the country's universities are still reluctant to fully embrace them. The lecturers are still led by the conservative notion that they still cling to the traditional lecture method and other teacher-centered methodologies.

However, researches have shown that effective learning takes place through interactive and collaborative learning approaches using ICT integrated learning environment such as LMS (Felder, 2002; Martherly & Burney 2013). Although several studies have been conducted on lecturers' perception and acceptance of ICT facilities and models in instructional delivery, no study has been carried out on the topic of this investigation especially in developing countries like Nigeria. Thus, the thrust of this study is to investigate business education lecturers' perception of LMS for effective teaching and learning of accounting in universities in South-East, Nigeria. The outcome of this study when implemented would help to build new polices on ICT integration into teaching and learning in universities in Nigeria. The integration of LMS into the teaching and learning of accounting, by extension will facilitate instructional delivery and improve students' achievement in accounting. The interactivity and intercreativity that will flow from the use of LMS in teaching and learning will increase students' participation, interest, and enhance their performance (Moses, Ali, & Krauss, 2014).

Effect of learning management systems in teaching and learning

An LMS is a set of software package that support administration of one or several courses to a student or group of students in a centralized repository resources (online) environment. Goh, Hong, and Gunawan (2014) defined LMS as "a course management application that provides 24/7 accessibility to course materials". It is a platform that assist lecturers and instructors in delivering instructional resources, supports knowledge sharing and communication among students (Nair, 2011; Mabed, & Kohler, 2012; Choo, & Rahmat, 2013).

The Learning management systems enable learners to authenticate themselves, enroll/register for courses, complete courses and engage in evaluation (LSAL, 2004). LMS works as central repositories to address all type of educational needs. It has contributed in advancement of different aspects of educational activities such as: curriculum planning, learner engagement and content management as well as evaluation (Kulshrestha & Kant, 2013; Goh, et al, 2014). Due to its benefits in teaching and learning, several universities across the world and Nigeria in particular, have integrated LMS into their educational systems (Nasser, Cherif, & Romanowski, 2011; Dahlstrom, Brooks, & Bichsel, 2014; Olatubosun, Olusoga, & Samuel, 2015; Nicholas-Omoregbe, Azeta, Chiazor, & Omoregbe, 2017). LMS has helped both lecturers and students to access learning content at anytime, anywhere, and to share courseware with friends and colleagues. It also helps in creating a centralized source of learning; supports tracking and reporting of students engagement and progress made; increases students' seriousness particularly in turning-in their assignments; it also increases communication and interaction between lecturers and students, and students-to-students (Goh, Hong, & Gunawan, 2014); and enhances learning analytics (Jones, 2009; Monarch Media, 2010; Kulshrestha & Kant, 2013; Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) 2017).

There are several types of LMS learning environment such as proprietary, cloud-based, and open source LMSs (Dobre, 2015). Each of these types are adopted by educational institutions to meet up with their specific academic activities and needs (Dahlstrom, Brooks, & Bichsel, 2014; Brown, Dehoney, & Millichap, 2015; Berking & Gallagher, 2016; CEI, 2017). However, research has shown that LMS is not meant to replace the traditional teaching approach but can serve as a supplementary learning environment to facilitate learning (Legris, Ingham, & Collerette, 2003) and instil student-centered learning approach (Tanner, Conway, Bottoms, Feagin & Bearman, 2001). Effective utilization of LMS requires some skills such as ICT skills, computer skills and technical skills.

Skills required for effective use of LMS teaching and learning in universities

Skill is the ability to accomplish a task expertly and professionally (Bolt-Lee & Foster, 2003). It is the tendency to do something successfully and very well. According to Okute and Agomuo (2010), the emergence of ICT has brought about globalization, which has placed a demand on lecturers for new pedagogical skills, procedures, and approaches. This assertion collaborates with Osuala (2004), who accentuated that Business Education lecturers must prepare business teachers by effectively applying new computer technologies in their classrooms. Osuala and Okeke (2006) also charged Business Education lecturers to update their teaching skills and knowledge, secure relevant information that can make business graduates employable on graduation.

The skills that are required by lecturers for effective utilization of LMS in teaching and learning include: ability to upload and download courseware or files; the ability to manage the editing/settings features of the LMS; being proficient in delivering lecturer on the LMS platform; ability to create additional learning resources and tools that can help in facilitating students' participation and improving their performance (Moses, Ali, & Krauss, 2014). Other skills include; computer skills; ability to create interactive quizzes, videos, online games, and group project, among others. To excel in the use of LMS, it is expected that a lecturer or the course developer should have a good working knowledge of computers, and word processing to be able to succeed in an online class. The lecturers should also be able to set password and login particulars for students and other users of the LMS platform; create email messages and attach files; possess keyboarding skills such as type, cut, copy, paste, name, re-name, save, and retrieve, among others (AMCIS, 2011); use Web browsers very well; fill or complete online forms; knowing how to backup files; knowing how to install and maintain anti-virus and other necessary software (Clemson Computing & Information Technology, 2017). If a lecturer possesses the requisite skills for using LMS, he or she can create and deliver content, track students' participation in the learning process, and also evaluate their performance thereby increasing their level of proficiency both in skill and professionalism (Nair & Patil, 2012; Okoro & Ursula, 2012).

Barriers to utilization of learning management system in instructional process and learning

Despite the various advantages of LMS, there are different barriers that inhibit its full implementation in educational institutions (Drent & Meelissen, 2008). For example, the EDUCAUSE identifies five challenges in teaching and learning with technology to include: (1) Creating learning environments that promote active learning, critical thinking, collaborative learning, and knowledge creation; (2) Developing 21st century literacy (information, digital, and visual) among students and faculty; (3) Reaching and engaging today's learner; (4) Encouraging faculty adoption and innovation in teaching and learning with IT; and (5) Advancing innovation in teaching and learning with technology in an era of budget cuts (Liverpool, Marut, Ndam & Oti, 2016). Research shows that integration of the state-of-the-art ICT facilities like LMS into education system has experienced a lot of setbacks most especially in developing countries (Drent & Meelissen, 2008). One of the major setbacks of integration of ICTs into teaching and learning is the digital divide between developed and developing countries of the world (Federal Ministry of Education (FME), 2004).

Some researchers classified the barriers to integrating ICT facilities into teaching and learning into four, namely; technical, non-technical, human, and financial barriers (Association of African Universities AAU 2000; British Educational Communications and Technology Agency BECTA, 2004; Yusuf 2005). However, Xia and Jenny (2015) noted that teaching always have some barriers. According to the authors, these barriers can be grouped into three categories, namely; first, second, and third-order barriers. Some of the barriers identified as first-order barriers include: lack or inadequacy of equipment and facilities, processing requirements, and faculty attitudinal dispositions (Pelgrum 2001; Mulkeen, 2003; BECTA 2004; Chen, Tan, & Lim 2012; Goktas, Gedik, & Beaydas, 2013); poor knowledge of ICT by faculty members (Preston, Cox, & Cox, 2000; Schoepp 2005; Drent & Meelissen, 2008; Al-Senaidi, Lim, & Poirot, 2009; Khan, Hasan, & Clement, 2012); inadequate professional training and development in the use of ICT (particularly...

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