How Do Saudi Universities Motivate Students to Benefit from and Engage in E-Learning Systems?

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Date
2024-03-27
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Victoria University
Abstract
In recognition of the importance of education and health, the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia allocated the largest budget in 2023 to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, among all ministries (Ministry of Finance, 2023). e-learning in Saudi universities is considered an indispensable part of continuing the educational process and keeping pace with the world in scientific and technological development. Because there are few studies that have focused on motivating students in Saudi universities and even less on motivating students to use and engage in e-learning systems i, this thesis investigates student motivation and explores strategies used by Saudi universities to motivate their students to benefit from and engage in e-learning. In addition, it aimed to measure the effectiveness of these strategies through the use of Keller's ARCS Model of Motivational Design. The study sample covered three universities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and included students, academic staff, and e-learning specialists. A mixed methods research approach was used in this thesis, which selected two units from each university. Data were collected through individual interviews with six academic staff members, five e-learning specialists, and twenty-six students in total in focus groups; one hundred and sixty responses were also obtained from students who participated through filling out questionnaires across the three universities. The results of the study revealed that there were no specific strategies developed by the three Saudi universities to trigger students’ motivation towards using and engaging in e-learning systems. However, the results showed that some academic staff motivate students in the e-learning environment, using different methods they consider appropriate based on their experience, aiming to make the content more engaging and thus increasing students’ engagement. The results of the study also brought to light some barriers facing e-learning in Saudi universities, such as weak Blackboard systems or poor internet performance, especially in university branches outside big cities. The study concluded that Saudi universities need to develop clear strategies aimed at motivating students to use, engage in, and fully benefit from e-learning systems. The thesis recommended that academic staff should be involved in developing and creating e-learning content to ensure that it appeals to students. In addition, the study highlighted the need for further research to foster better understanding of students’ motivation and achieve successful implementation of e-learning systems in Saudi Arabia.
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Keywords
Saudi universities, E-Learning, Motivation, ARCS Model, Student Engagement
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