Distance learners' attitudes and experiences of MUELE ICT Support services at Makerere University.
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Delivering relevant support services using a Learning Management System (LMS) demands an understanding of the type of learner being reached, and provision of the right guidance for them to use the LMS. This study set out to explore Makerere University Bachelor of Commerce (External) learners’ attitudes and experiences of MUELE ICT support services. The objectives of the study were to: assess the student proficiency skills, use the revised Technology Acceptance Model (LMS-TAM) to predict the factors that affected their behavioural intent to use MUELE, and explore the lecturers' perceptions about the students' experiences with MUELE ICT support. This descriptive cross-sectional study involved distribution of self-administered questionnaires to 95 students and interviews of two lecturers. Quantitative data was exported to STATA and R programme for statistical analysis, where Logistic Regression, generated information for E-readiness skills, and Structural Equation Modelling, predicted factors that influenced the behavioural intention of learners to use the LMS. Audio recordings of oral interviews were transcribed, saved as text files and exported to the RQDA package in R programme for content analysis where data was coded then categorized into themes . Students showed e-readiness in form of: significant proficiency at using Microsoft Office applications and ownership of Information and Communication Technologies. Enjoyment and perceived usefulness were predicted as factors that significantly influenced the students’ behavioural intention to use the LMS, while themes that emerged out of the interviews were: benefits and challenges that learners experienced in using the LMS, including the role of the lecturer and the institute. There is room to exploit students' digital capabilities and related ownership of a large number of smart phones, including the fact that they are more likely to use the LMS when they perceive it as enjoyable and useful. Lecturers also suggested that appropriate training on how to use the LMS is important for each student.