Face-to-Face Tutorials, Learning Management System and WhatsApp Group: How Digital Immigrants Interact and Engage in E-learning?
Lay Kee Chng
Universiti Sains Malaysia
The advancement of educational technology enables universities to provide various online courses to fit the needs of different learners. However, the question is – how do adult learners learn in this digital age, especially for those who had learned and developed their digital skills through experience and by self-exploring at their workplace? As such, a case study in Malaysia was conducted to examine learning experiences exhibited by middle-aged learners, also known as digital immigrants, in an e-learning environment. Fourteen new students from the first semester of a first-year programme in a private university, with ages ranging from 40–55 years, participated in the study. Face-to-face interviews were conducted and observations were performed in Learning Management System (LMS) and WhatsApp groups for a semester. This study has pointed out that the digital immigrants require human-to-human interaction in e-learning. The forming of virtual groups using the WhatsApp application is also very important to digital immigrants. Conclusively, blended learning mode in the e-learning environment which still allows interaction between humans is still the best choice for these digital immigrants, while technology is an alternative tool for the learners to complete their studies.