University Students’ Perceptions of Social Experiences in Online Learning: A Post-COVID-19 Perspective


Since the emergence of COVID-19 in 2020, online learning has become increasingly important as an alternative to face-to-face higher education (HE) programme delivery globally, including in Malaysia and Singapore. With limited physical and social contact, communication, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing through digital tools play a large part in enhancing students’ virtual learning experience. Based on the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) and social learning theories, this study examined HE students’ perceived social learning values, as seen in their online learning activities during the pandemic. Utilising the online survey method, input concerning the students’ perceptions was gathered from convenience samples from a Malaysian university and a Singaporean university. Generally, the study indicates no significant difference between HE students from both universities in technology acceptance and their perceptions of the social aspects in online learning: online learning was moderately perceived as effective by both groups in facilitating social learning activities, particularly through communication, collaboration, and resource/ material sharing between students and teachers. However, further data analysis via the UTAUT framework indicated that these perceived social learning aspects were significantly linked to the students’ intention to use online learning. The emerging findings form recommendations for improving HE students’ social learning experience in online learning. These apply to both Malaysian and Singaporean contexts, and importantly, provide insights for the design of an effective online learning ecosystem that addresses the dynamic social learning needs within the HE context during and post the pandemic.

Author Information
Siti Norbaya Azizan, Sunway University, Malaysia
Glenda Marian Crosling, Sunway University, Malaysia
Graeme Atherton, Sunway University, Malaysia
Angela Siew Hoong Lee, Sunway University, Malaysia
Benedict Valentine Arulanandam, Sunway University, Malaysia
Catherine Cheng Ean Lee, Sunway University, Malaysia

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2021
Stream: Learning Experiences

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon