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Learning outcomes of students in e-Learning Environment: An Empirical Analysis.

Information and Communication Technology has become an indispensable part of our lives, especially in the field of education. It enhances accessibility, quality of education and empowers the society by connecting the masses. Technology has the potential to bridge the widening socio-economic disparity in a developing country like India. ICT as a pillar in education induces learning and inculcates new skill sets among the students. Progress of a country largely depends on penetration of technology especially to the grassroots level. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) define ICT as "forms of technology that are used to transmit, process, store, create, display, share or exchange information by electronic means."

Communication has existed with the very genesis of civilization and culture. Human beings have been communicating through verbal and nonverbal means. Effective communication plays a pivotal role in resolving problems and forming a network.

With the advent of globalization and urbanization from the 20th century onwards, there were considerable changes in ways of communication. We evolved from letters to emails, web and social networking.

This article is made out of PHD thesis submitted by the author to the University of Delhi.

Our history has witnessed four phases of development of Information Technology and Communication:

1. Pre mechanical Phase

2. Mechanical Phase

3. Electromechanical Phase

4. Electronic Phase

It started from "Pre mechanical" phase between 3000 BC and 1450 AD where communication was done through drawings on stones called "petro glyphs".

The Mechanical Phase was between 1450 and 1840 AD. It was noted as the beginning of the foundation of technology where Blaise Pascal invented the mechanical computer and Charles Babbage developed the "difference engine" for evaluating polynomials.

The phase of 1840 to 1940 AD is called as Electro-mechanical phase. This phase witnessed the beginning of telecommunication. During this phase, Telephone and Radio came into existence. This phase earmarked the invention of the first digital computer around 1940 in United States. Initially, computer was programmed using punched cards.

The time from 1940 till present is called Electronic phase. The "ENIAC" was the first high speed digital computer that could be reprogrammed to solve many complex computing problems. The phase witnessed the development of Graphical User Interface, Programmable logic circuits and Integrated Circuits and Microprocessors. From then onwards, technology is changing rapidly every day, "Use of Computer", first transformed into IT (Information technology) and then into "Information and Communication Technology". The advent of Internet revolutionized the world and created "Information Infrastructure". Information became power and a basic tool of life globally. In the 20th century, the world witnessed a lot of advancement in Science and Technology. Efforts were made to pass on the traits of science and technology in the field of education.

Developing knowledge economy is a continuous process which requires diligent and persistent efforts from every stakeholder. Innovation starts with competent teachers. TPACK framework- (Technological, pedagogical content and knowledge framework) stated that technical learning in the classrooms begins with teacher's understanding of relationship between the three variables-content technology and pedagogy (Lee Shulman, 1986). Technology transformed conventional classrooms into smart ones and motivates students for further research and exploration. It can revitalize classroom discussions, improve understanding of students and can keep them captivated and attentive throughout the session.

The current study highlights the impact of ICT in transformation of traditional pedagogy and tapping its potential to nourish the creative imaginations of girl students. It further gauges their perception towards technology and learning.

Some literature relating to the study is narrated below.

Michel B. (2016) emphasized the use of technological aids in classrooms for upgrading the performance of the students and also induces learning. Use of Audio- Visual Aids helps in retention of facts and figures. Every student has a different interest, caliber, understanding level and pace of learning. It is difficult for a teacher to keep pace with each and every student. With the help of digital resources, students can learn and understand at their own pace online courses motivates students to do self-learning.

NITI AAYOG, Government of India (2016), NITI Ayog, Government of India, has taken the initiative of Atal Innovation Mission. Under this mission, Atal Tinkering Labs would be established in schools grade (VI - X), where the objective is to cover around 1 million children in India and nurture them to be future innovators. As per the document, the goal of this scheme is to enhance the thinking and curiosity and understanding in "STEM"- Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, with the help of tools and equipment. Grants would be given to applicant schools for setting up laboratories, buying instruments like printer, projector etc. for a period of five years. The ultimate goal is to inculcate innovative and creative learning, computational thinking, soft computing, physical computing, networking, etc. Setting up of proper Labs, providing appropriate ICT tools will enable young students to carry out research and innovation that can further help the government of India in the developmental work. To transform youth into future innovators, it is necessary to ignite their mind right from the beginning.

Frans Van et al. (2015) provided very useful inputs on transforming traditional classroom into interactive environment and induce learning. The use of "ITEC" Innovative technology for engaging classrooms" for improving pedagogical methods of teaching and learning was emphasized. Technology has the capability to connect the teachers and students round the clock. Students can take the benefits of online lectures without any restriction on time. The success of ICT projects in schools requires lots of campaigning, motivation and capacity building programs, both at the top and bottom. Motivation for incorporating ICT tools is required as it inculcates creative and innovative ideas. Today's idea will evolve into tomorrow's innovation.

Rajaram Sharma (2016) highlighted the role of technology in surmounting the "Digital Divide", exploration of various active methods of learning and enhancing the capacity to innovate. School is a place where students learn, gather knowledge and enhance their innate potential. School education, integrated with technology, diversifies learning andinnovation; inculcates rational thinking and gives wings to imagination. Digital resources have eliminated the binding of time and place. Students can learn anywhere and anytime and many of them are available free of cost.

The National repository of open educational resources "is very popular at school level. "NPTEL" courses are the initiative of "National mission Education through ICT". CBSE has also launched an application for mobiles "E-CBSE". With the help of digital sources, students can set their own learning timetable.

Khan and Ghadially (2009) in "Empowering Muslims through Computer Education: A Gender Analysis" highlighted the importance of ICT in bringing changes at social-economic level and promoting empowerment of the minorities and the marginalized groups. The research paper was contributed by professors from "Indian Institute of Technology", Mumbai as part of the innovative project in local Muslim Minority Community. This paper, as part of the digital library initiatives, accommodated uses and barriers of computer education, such as internet use, educational, psychological and social use of computers by the minorities. The investigator worked on 160 adolescent girls and 75 boys from Muslim community, concentrating more on the girls among the respondents. The researcher used chi squares and ANOVA test. The results concluded ICT as "gender equalizer".

Microsoft in collaboration with the Maharashtra Government initiated UMMID (2009), prompting uptake of Information Communication Technology in the public schools to enhance IT Skills. Three important places of Maharashtra namely Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur were selected to set up IT hubs under Microsoft. Nearly 48, 00,000 students at the school level were provided ICT training by their qualified professionals. The students of poor socio-economic background and students from the minority religious groups were selected to hone their ICT skills. Several thousand teachers and pre-service teachers were identified and trained in IT skills. Curriculum's such as the "Digital Literacy Curriculum" and self- learning were used and their soft-skills and hard skills, both were improved. A procedure for selection of the students was followed and nearly 60,000 students were estimated to be trained along with the master trainers in Maharashtra in collaboration with Microsoft.

Methodology

Present study is based on primary data. Descriptive design was selected to understand the research problem in depth. The study was conducted in Delhi. The investigator covered all the nine districts of Delhi for data collection. Mainly, girls of classes IX and X were included in the sample population. Data was collected from government schools in various districts of Delhi. The Sample size of study was 500. Data was collected in two stages. In the first stage - Stratified Random Sampling method was used to select government girls' school from all districts of Delhi. In the next stage, Purposive sampling or Selective sampling method was used to collect the samples to ensure maximum representation of target population.

Analysis and discussion

The underlying section critically analyzes adoption of ICT skills among the girls of classes IX and X and role of ICT in pedagogy. A separate Ready Reckoner was prepared to understand the use of internet and its various applications among the students.

Table 1 delves into detailed analysis of usage of online applications by girl students of classes IX and X
Table 1: Analysis of Usage of Online Applications

Technical Skills (Online applications)         Percentage of
                                               respondents

Google or any other search engine              25%
Learning from You tube videos                  10%
Navigation through web and exploration         25%
Using online resources like OER                10%
Using virus protection software                 3%
Downloading different softwares from internet  10%

Using cloud like Google Drive, Drop box         2%
Using internet banking facilities               2%
Using Internet for bill, recharge and day
to day affairs like Paytm                       5%


The Pearson product-moment test was used to assess the impact of using ICT aids in classrooms for the transformation of traditional pedagogy and making the environment conducive to learning. Pearson's Bivariate Correlation test was applied between:

(i) Dependent Variable: Adoption of ICT Skills; and

(ii) Independent Variable: Use of technical aids in the concerned institution and its assimilation in teaching and learning.
Table 2: Pearson Correlation between use of ICT Tools in Institution and
Adoption of Technical Skills

                                                     Use of ICT tools in
                                                     Institution

                                Pearson Correlation    1
Use of ICT tools in
institution                     Sig. (2-tailed)
                                N                    441
                                Pearson Correlation     .736 (**)
Email                           Sig. (2-tailed)         .000
                                N                    441
                                Pearson Correlation     .769 (**)
Learning from educational
resources                       Sig. (2-tailed)         .000
available online                N                    441
Using social networking
websites for                    Pearson Correlation     .869 (**)
professional networking         Sig. (2-tailed)         .000
                                N                    441
                                Pearson Correlation     .549 (**)
Microsoft Word                  Sig. (2-tailed)         .000
                                N                    441
                                Pearson Correlation     .889 (**)
PowerPoint                      Sig. (2-tailed)         .000
                                N                    441
                                Pearson Correlation     .544 (**)
Excel                           Sig. (2-tailed)         .002
                                N                    441
                                Pearson Correlation     .724 (**)
Understanding of the subject    Sig. (2-tailed)         .001
                                N                    441
                                Pearson Correlation     .853 (**)
Retention of facts and figures  Sig. (2-tailed)         .001
                                N                    441
Classroom presentations make
classes                         Pearson Correlation     .739 (**)
more interactive.               Sig. (2-tailed)         .002
                                N                    441


The threshold for statistical significance was .05 and .01 levels. Two tailed significance test the statistical significance in both directions. The table indicates positive Correlation since r is positive in all the cases. In maximum cases, value of Pearson Correlation coefficient r approaches 1 indicating strong relationship between the two variables. Pearson value (r) was .724 which illustrates that use of ICT aids increases the understanding of the subject. The results were significant. Since the value of r (.724) approaches 1, it indicates strong relationship between the two variables. Pearson value (r) was .853(closer to 1) indicating strong relationship between the variables that is use of ICT aids with retention of facts and figures.

Since p value or probability value is .000 < .001 in maximum cases, it indicates results to be statistically significant at 99% level of confidence. It reveals that adoption of ICT skills was directly proportional to the use of ICT aids in the institution. It represents linear model of association between the two participating variables. That is increase in one variable increases the other variable. Hence, intervention of ICT aids in the institution makes the environment more conducive to learning, helps in understanding of subject and longer retention of concepts.

Further, Pearson Bi-Variate Correlation test was applied to study the relation between access to ICT tools and its adoption among the students. The variables are:

(i) Dependent Variable: Adoption of ICT skills; and

(ii) Independent Variable: Access to ICT tools.

The intent here is to statistically determine the level of exploration when access to ICT tools was present.
Table 3: Pearson Correlation between access to ICT Tools and Adoption of
Technical Skills

                               Access to     Using         Online
                               computer      Email         Learning

              Pearson            1              .522 (**)     .508 (**)
Access to     Correlation
Computer      Sig. (2-tailed)                   .000          .000
              N                441           441           441
              Pearson             .522 (**)    1              .921 (**)
Using Email   Correlation
              Sig. (2-tailed)     .000                        .000
              N                441           441           441
              Pearson             .508 (**)     .921 (**)    1
Online        Correlation
Learning      Sig. (2-tailed)     .000          .000
              N                441           441           441
Using Social  Pearson             .539 (**)     .909 (**)     .952 (**)
              Correlation
Networking    Sig. (2-tailed)     .000          .000          .000
              N                441           441           441
              Pearson             .500 (**)     .847 (**)     .859 (**)
Using         Correlation
PowerPoint    Sig. (2-tailed)     .000          .000          .000
              N                441           441           441
              Pearson             .481 (**)     .859 (**)     .860 (**)
              Correlation
Using Excel   Sig. (2-tailed)     .000          .000          .000
              N                441           441           441

                               Using Social  Using         Using
                               Networking    PowerPoint    Excel
                               Websites

              Pearson             .539 (**)     .500 (**)     .481 (**)
Access to     Correlation
Computer      Sig. (2-tailed)     .000          .000          .000
              N                441           441           441
              Pearson             .909 (**)     .847 (**)     .859 (**)
Using Email   Correlation
              Sig. (2-tailed)     .000          .000          .000
              N                441           441           441
              Pearson             .952 (**)     .859 (**)     .860 (**)
Online        Correlation
Learning      Sig. (2-tailed)     .000          .000          .000
              N                441           441           441
Using Social  Pearson            1              .871 (**)     .873 (**)
              Correlation
Networking    Sig. (2-tailed)                   .000          .000
              N                441           441           441
              Pearson             .871 (**)    1              .947 (**)
Using         Correlation
PowerPoint    Sig. (2-tailed)     .000                        .000
              N                441           441           441
              Pearson             .873 (**)     .947 (**)    1
              Correlation
Using Excel   Sig. (2-tailed)     .000          .000
              N                441           441           441


Results from the above table reveal that Pearson Correlation Coefficient was statistically significant at .01 level percent. The significant value or p (probability) value is approximately .000<.01 in all the cases, indicating results to be statistically significant at 99% level of confidence. In maximum cases, r is positive and approaches 1, indicating strong positive relationship between the variables. Strong association means increase in access to ICT aids increases the adoption of ICT skills. In other words, access was directly proportional to adoption of ICT skills. Thus, it can be inferred from the outcome of statistical test, that students who had access to ICT aids were more receptive towards technology.

To understand how lack of opportunities and infrastructural barriers can hamper learning of students, Pearson Bivariate Correlation test was applied between infrastructural barriers in institutions and adoption of technical skills.

Bivariate Correlation test was applied between the variables:

(i) No functional computers; and

(ii) Adoption of technical skills

The test was applied to determine the impact of infrastructural barriers on embracing technology.
Table 4: Correlation between Usage of Functional Computers in
Institution and Adoption of Technical Skills.

                                No            Email         Online
                                functional                  learning
                                computers
                                in school

No functional  Pearson            1             -.062 (**)    -.056 (**)
               Correlation
computers in   Sig. (2-tailed)                   .000          .000
               N                450           450           450
               Pearson            -.062 (**)    1              .926 (**)
               Correlation
Email          Sig. (2-tailed)     .000                        .000
               N                450           499           499
               Pearson            -.056 (**)     .926 (**)    1
Online         Correlation
learning       Sig. (2-tailed)     .000          .000
               N                450           499           499
               Pearson            -.017 (**)     .930 (**)     .949 (**)
Social         Correlation
networking     Sig. (2-tailed)     .001          .000          .000
               N                450           499           499
               Pearson            -.011 (**)     .885 (**)     .880 (**)
               Correlation
PowerPoint     Sig. (2-tailed)     .000          .000          .000
               N                450           499           499
               Pearson            -.020 (**)     .894 (**)     .881 (**)
               Correlation
Excel          Sig. (2-tailed)     .000          .000          .000
               N                450           499           499

                                Social        PowerPoint    Excel
                                networking
                                websites

No functional  Pearson            -.017 (**)    -.011 (**)    -.020 (**)
               Correlation
computers in   Sig. (2-tailed)     .001          .000          .000
               N                450           450           450
               Pearson             .930 (**)     .885 (**)     .894 (**)
               Correlation
Email          Sig. (2-tailed)     .000          .000          .000
               N                499           499           499
               Pearson             .949 (**)     .880 (**)     .881 (**)
Online         Correlation
learning       Sig. (2-tailed)     .000          .000          .000
               N                499           499           499
               Pearson            1              .902 (**)     .903 (**)
Social         Correlation
networking     Sig. (2-tailed)                   .000          .000
               N                499           499           499
               Pearson             .902 (**)    1              .961 (**)
               Correlation
PowerPoint     Sig. (2-tailed)     .000                        .000
               N                499           499           499
               Pearson             .903 (**)     .961 (**)    1
               Correlation
Excel          Sig. (2-tailed)     .000          .000
               N                499           499           499


It can be seen in the table that Pearson Correlation Coefficient r is negative here, indicating negative correlation between the variables. Also probability value p is .000 or .001 < .01 alpha level, indicating significant results at 99% confidence level. That is, lack of computers, improper computer labs and technical facilities hampers their learning.

A Pearson Bivariate Correlation was applied between the two variables:

(i) Gender Biasness as a perception; and

(ii) Adoption of technical skills
Table 5: Correlation between Gender Biasness as a Perception and
Adoption of Technical Skills

                                                 Feel biasness as a girl
                                                 in learning ICT at home

                            Pearson Correlation    1
Feel biasness as a
girl in learning            Sig. (2-tailed)
ICT at home                 N                    450
                            Pearson Correlation    -.432 (**)
Email                       Sig. (2-tailed)         .000
                            N                    450
                            Pearson Correlation    -.443 (**)
Online learning             Sig. (2-tailed)         .000
                            N                    450
                            Pearson Correlation    -.443 (**)
Social networking websites  Sig. (2-tailed)         .000
                            N                    450
SMS                         Pearson Correlation    -.125 (**)
                            Sig. (2-tailed)         .008
                            N                    450
                            Pearson Correlation    -.386 (**)
Google_mobile               Sig. (2-tailed)         .000
                            N                    450
                            Pearson Correlation    -.249 (**)
Mobile_apps                 Sig. (2-tailed)         .000
                            N                    450
                            Pearson Correlation    -.385 (**)
Social messenger_mobile     Sig. (2-tailed)         .000
                            N                    450


The test was applied to statistically analyze the impact of household environment and opportunities to the girls on their learning. Results revealed negative correlation between Gender biasness and adoption of technical skills. The results were significant at .01 alpha levels. Negative Pearson correlation coefficient indicates negative correlation between the variables. That is, increase in one decreases the other. Hence, gender biasness hinders the technical progress of girls.

During group discussions with the girl students, it can be inferred that their male counterparts get comparatively much better opportunities to learn and explore ICT and related technologies. During the field study, investigator observed that girls spend major chunk of their time in household chores, looking after younger siblings etc. For women, household chores were considered as their primary responsibility. However, some girls were still able to access ICT for a fleeting duration of time. It primarily depends upon the mindset of the parents and the household environment, whether girls would get equal opportunities or not.

Findings

Some of the important findings of the study are as follows:

* 83.2% of respondents have access to mobiles. This may be one for the entire family, but at least 83.2% of the families have access to mobiles. The use of mobiles has bridged the income barrier. Initially, using smart phones was the urban phenomena but technology has changed the entire scenario and has broken all the income and social barriers.

* 95% of the respondents were not familiar with the term ICT. "ICT" terminology was foreign to them.

* 26% of the girls use Internet at home.

* 25% of the respondents used mobiles for internet and only 3% used computers.

* Use of ICT aids in institutions was positively correlated with adoption of technical skills. Retention of facts and figures, understanding of the subject and classroom interactions gave significant results with the usage of technology.

* Variables 'access to Computer' and 'adoption of technical skills', were positively correlated and results were significant at 99% level of confidence.

* Gender Biasness was negatively correlated with adoption of technical skills.

Conclusion

* It can be concluded from the findings that first and foremost, girl students should be provided access to ICT. Access will provide them the requisite opportunities to explore and learn.

* Teachers accentuated that although fundamentals of information technology has been part of the curriculum of IXth and Xth class students, still due to lack of infrastructure facilities, there were no lab sessions in the school. Also, both teachers and students opined that traditional teaching was book centric and monotonous, while use of ICT tools can transform this into student centric environment and more interactive sessions.

* Use of Audio/Visual aids helps in longer retention of facts and figures.

* Teachers also stressed on setting up of proper computer labs with internet. They supported and appreciated the idea of Atal Tinkering labs.

* Every student has different interest, calibre, understanding level and pace of learning. It is difficult for a teacher to keep pace with each and every student. With the help of digital resources, students can learn and understand at their own pace. Online courses motivate students to do self-learning. Students should be persuaded to learn additional concepts from Internet. ICT training of teachers is equally important as a skilled teacher induces curiosity and learning. Developing Knowledge economy is a continuous process which requires persistent and diligent efforts from every stakeholder. Innovation begins from competent teachers. Technological aids can also be used as a tool for formative and summative evaluation.

* It can be concluded from the results of statistical test and field study that students were lacking with the technical fundamentals of: - Web page, Web dynamics

** URL/IP address / fundamentals of HTML

** Differences between static and dynamic web pages.

** Different types of file formats like PDF,DOCX, and XSLX etc

** The advent of Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and differences between them. All these technicalities were a part of practicum of class IXth and Xth students. But only few of them were familiar with these basic terminologies. The results indicated poor understanding of technical concepts.

* Students articulated that electronic mode of learning induces creativity and fosters diversified and collaborative learning.

References and Bibliography

Ambhasht, NK. (2003): Community Education. National Institute of Open Schooling, New Delhi.

Asma, S. and Shazil, T. (Feb 2015): Role of Madrasa Education in empowerment and upliftment of Muslim minority in India.IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 20(2), 11-14.

Barron, A. (1998): Designing Web based training, British Journal of Educational Technology, 29(4), 355-371.

Department of School Education and Literacy (2009): Report on Right to free and Compulsory education act, 1-13. Retrieved from the website of Ministry of Human Resource and Development, Government of India (accessed on May 2016).

Department of School Education and Literacy (2009): Report on Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan. Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, New Delhi.

Department of School Education and Literacy.(2012): Report on National Policy on Information and Communication Technology in School Education. Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, New Delhi.

Devi, Uma. (2009): Influence of Mass Media on the knowledge about ICT in Education. Institute of Advance Study in Education and Extension, 1(1), 94-98.

Grasser, A. and Person, N.(2001): Teaching tactics and dialogs using ICT. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 12(3), 257-279.

Horn, Michael B. (2016): Moving Education Technology onwards: Forming Networks. Education Next, 16(1).

Khan, Farida. & Ghadially, Rehana. (2009): Empowerment through ICT or computer education, access and Usage: a gender analysis over Muslim minority.In 3rd international conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development. IEEE.

Sharma, Raja ram. (2016, Jan): Technology in Education: Aspirations and hopes of fidgety Generation. Yojna, 60, 15-17, ISSN - 0971-8400.

Sharma, Rina. (2015): Promoting Educational Empowerment of Muslim Minority: A Case Study of Mid Day Meal and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, New Delhi.

Van, F., Anido, L. and Griffiths, D. (2015): Reengineering the uptake of ICT in schools, Springer, ISBN 978-3-319-19365-6.

Annexure:
Figure 1: Number of respondents in classes IX and X

Ixth  49.77%
Xth   50.23%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 2: Access to computer

YES  83.2%
NO   16.8%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 3: Usage of Internet

NO   60%
YES  40%

Note: Table made from bar graph.


Figure 6: Study of adoption of technical skills when access to ICT was
available

                 YES     NO

Online Learning  81.30  18.80
Email            68.80  31.20
Social..         68.80  31.20
Word             50.00  50.00
Powerpoint       50.00  50.00
Excel            37.50  62.50

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Author:Kumari, Neha
Publication:Political Economy Journal of India
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jan 1, 2019
Words:3944
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