The quasimoderating effect of perceived affective quality on an extending Technology Acceptance Model
Computers & Education 54 (2010) 37–46 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Computers & Education journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/compeduWebCT – The quasimoderating effect of perceived affective qualityon an extending Technology Acceptance ModelManuel J. Sanchez-Franco *Marketing Professor, Facultad de Ciencias Economicas y Empresariales, Universidad de Sevilla, Avda. Ramon y Cajal, n1, 41018 Sevilla, Spaina r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c tArticle history: Perceived affective quality is an attractive area of research in Information System. Speciﬁcally, under-Received 8 April 2009 standing the intrinsic and extrinsic individual factors and interaction effects that inﬂuence InformationReceived in revised form 2 July 2009 and Communications Technology (ICT) acceptance and adoption – in higher education – continues toAccepted 6 July 2009 be a focal interest in learning research. In this regard, one type of affective reactions toward ICT (in our study, the WebCT), perceived affective quality, is an essential dimension in user technology accep- tance.Keywords: A structural equation modelling, speciﬁcally partial least square (PLS), is proposed to assess the rela-Perceived affective qualityTAM tionships between the constructs together with the predictive power of the research model. The resultsFlow demonstrate that the research model signiﬁcantly predicts the intention to use the WebCT. The resultsPerceived usefulness provide strong support for the proposals that (a) perceived usefulness, ease of use and ﬂow lead thePerceived ease of use learners towards developing high intention to use the WebCT; and (b) perceived affective quality exhibitsIntention a relevant interaction effect on the model.Partial least squares This study, therefore, represents a ‘‘crucial test” of non-utilitarian inﬂuences on use of Web-based applications. The model and results can thus be used to assess motivational design aspects during elec- tronic learning process. Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.1. Introduction Web-based learning environments are enabling Universities (a) to shift focus away from traditional content-based learning to ‘‘a morepro-active approach that embraces process-based learning” (Vogel & Klassen 2001, p. 104); and (b) to reach increasing number of students,both in traditional distance education and continuing professional education (Nunes & McPherson, 2003). University educators and learn-ers are thus increasingly encouraged to use electronic learning (hereinafter, e-learning) techniques to enrich the educational experience(e.g. Limniou, Papadopoulos, & Whitehead, 2009); i.e. ‘‘technology that is around everything we do, has taken a place in the classroom”(Toral, Barrero, & Martínez-Torres, 2007, p. 958). The impact of e-learning will, therefore, be real and it is receiving growing attention frompractitioners and information system researchers (e.g. Area Moreira, 2005; Martínez-Torres, Toral, Barrero, Gallardo, Arias, & Torres, 2008). However, the introduction of e-learning technologies in teaching institutions is often complex and learners and educators do not alwaysuse ICT as expected. For instance, ‘‘resisting change is a state of mind for many educators and one of the most difﬁcult barriers for effectiveICT integration” (cf. Galanouli, Murphy, & Gardner, 2004, p. 66; cf. also Sánchez-Franco, Martínez-Lopez, & Martín-Velicia, 2009). Despiteefforts to position Information and Communications Technology (hereafter, ICT) as a central principle of university education, the fact thatmany educators and learners make only limited formal academic use of ICT during their teaching and learning is less discussed by educa-tional technologists (Selwyn, 2007). In particular, the reluctance to adopt electronic learning tools implies that research it is needed tounderstand more comprehensively how educators and learners can be engendered in online settings (cf. Hammoud, Love, Baldwin, & Chen,2008; Lu, Yu, & Liu, 2003). For instance, there is a lack of empirical analysis of the adoption/acceptance of Web-based learning systems(Barak, 2007; Ngai, Poon, & Chan, 2007). Understanding (a) the intrinsic and extrinsic dimensions, and (b) moderating factors (e.g. affects)that inﬂuence ICT acceptance and adoption in higher education, therefore, continues to be a focal interest in e-learning research. On the one hand, the theoretical basis for this study stems from Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (cf. Davis, 1989). However, originalTAM beliefs, that is, Perceived Usefulness (PU) and Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU) cannot fully reﬂect motives. In this regard, Human–Computer * Tel.: +34 954556133; fax: +34 954556989. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org/$ - see front matter Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2009.07.005
38 M.J. Sanchez-Franco / Computers & Education 54 (2010) 37–46Interaction (HCI) research proposes the need for incorporating intrinsic human factors (e.g. ﬂow) in a speciﬁc study to improve its particularand explanatory TAM value (cf. Hu, Chau, Sheng, & Tam, 1999; Legris, Ingham, & Collerette, 2003; Sánchez-Franco, 2005); that is, learnerscould partly use Web-based applications because they intrinsically enjoy it (i.e. user ﬂows). On the other hand, in HCI affects historically re-ceive scarce attention. Many ICT demonstrate satisfactory functionalities and usability; however, as Zhang and Li (2005) comment, under-standing users’ affective evaluation of ICT is also necessary. In fact, one type of affective reactions toward ICT, perception of affectivequality (PAQ) of an ICT, could be an essential factor in user technology acceptance (cf. Zhang, Li, & Sun, 2006); and more studies would thusbe needed ‘‘to validate, expand, synthesise, and generalise” research about perceived affective quality (Zhang & Li, 2005, p. 108). Nowadays, itis unclear whether affect plays a main role in an individual’s evaluation, reaction, acceptance, and use of ICT in various contexts for variouspurposes (Zhang & Li, 2004). Particularly, we are interested in how learners accept and use the Web Course Tools (hereafter, WebCT) in elec-tronic learning-based tasks and what they think about while they use it. Furthermore, we are interested in understanding the role of PAQ as anantecedent and a moderator of WebCT use. In short, this study focuses on the impact of perceived affective quality, TAM beliefs and ﬂow (i.e. extending TAM) on intention towardsusing by learners, and hypothesizes the existence of interaction effects of perceived affective quality on extending TAM. This present study(a) reviews the theoretical foundations in order to develop working hypotheses; (b) describes the research methodology followed to val-idate the structural model; and ﬁnally, (c) discusses the results, practical and theoretical implications and their methodological limitations.2. Theoretical background: a brief-perspective Research in HCI tradition has long asserted that the research of human factors (1) is a key to the successful design and implementationof technological applications and (2) should include cognitive and affective motives (Sánchez-Franco & Roldan, 2005).2.1. Extending TAM and the theoretical model The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) explains the determinants of technology acceptance over a wide range of end-user computingtechnologies -and user populations. For example, TAM is shown to have good predictive validity for the use of e-mail, Web, WebCT, etc.(e.g. Fenech, 1998; Gefen & Straub, 1997; Johnson & Hignite, 2000; Lee, 2006; Lin & Lu, 2000; Ngai et al., 2007). Speciﬁcally, PU and PEOU are hypothesized and empirically supported as fundamental determinants of user acceptance of a given ICT.Both users’ beliefs determine the behavioral intentions (BI) to use ICT. The ﬁrst three hypotheses (H1–H3) thus come mainly from numer-ous studies on TAM (e.g. Davis, 1989; Venkatesh, Morris, Davis, & Davis, 2003; Zhang et al., 2006), see Fig. 1. H1. PU positively inﬂuences BI to use Web-based technologies. H2. PEOU positively inﬂuences PU of Web-based technologies. H3. PEOU positively inﬂuences BI to use Web-based technologies. However, most of the TAM research has only been conducted from an extrinsic-motivation perspective. ‘‘Original TAM variables, that is,Use, Intention of use, Usefulness and Ease of use (Davis, 1989) cannot fully reﬂect e-learners’ motives, requiring a search for additionalintrinsic motivational factors” (Martínez-Torres et al., 2008, p. 496; cf. also Ong, Lai, & Wang, 2004). Several researchers thus proposethe need for incorporating intrinsic human factors or integrating other motivational variables and theories in a speciﬁc study to improvethe TAM value. In this context, one of the positive psychological states related to prior factors is ﬂow concept; that is, people become H10 PAQ H11 PU H7 H4 H1 PAQ H8 FLOW H5 BI H2 H14 H6 H12 H3 H9 PEOU H13 PAQ PAQ Directeffect Interactioneffect * BI: Behavioral Intention; PU: Perceived Usefulness; PEOU: Perceived Ease of Use; FLOW: Flow; PAQ: Perceived Affective Quality Fig. 1. Research model: interaction effects model. Hypotheses.
M.J. Sanchez-Franco / Computers & Education 54 (2010) 37–46 39absorbed in their activity: their awareness is narrowed to the activity itself; they lose self-consciousness, and they feel in control of theirenvironment (cf. Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). Furthermore, the concept of ﬂow is a possible metric of the online users experience; it could alsobe deﬁned as an intrinsically enjoyable experience: ‘‘the extent to which the activity of using the computer is perceived to be enjoyable inits own right, apart from any performance consequences that may be anticipated” (Davis, Bagozzi, & Warshaw, 1992, p. 1113). Flow shares several characteristics with TAM’s constructs. In particular, HCI-based research using the TAM model has found that ﬂowhas a relationship with PEOU (cf. Davis et al., 1992; Igbaria, Parasuraman, & Baroudi, 1996; Venkatesh, 1999; Venkatesh, 2000); and PU ofthe system (cf. Agarwal & Karahanna, 2000). For instance, Venkatesh (1999); Venkatesh (2000) conceptualises intrinsic enjoyment as anantecedent of PEOU, whose effects increase over time as users gain more experience and perceived control with the system. Furthermore,Agarwal and Karahanna (2000) ﬁnd a multi-dimensional construct called cognitive absorption (similar to ﬂow) which has a signiﬁcantinﬂuence on PU over and above PEOU. That is, users hold two inconsistent cognitive structures at the same time. In essence, users ratio-nalise ‘I am voluntarily spending a lot of time on this and enjoying it, therefore, it must be useful’. Individuals who often behave in certain waysmight infer that they, for instance, enjoy behaving in those ways (cf. Bem, 1972; Sánchez-Franco & Roldan, 2005). Similarly, Yi and Hwang(2003) propose the inﬂuence of intrinsic motives (i.e. intrinsic enjoyment) on PU. As Ghani and Deshpande (1994) point out, the total con-centration on an activity and the enjoyment which one derives are the key characteristics of ﬂow. Users in a ﬂow state focus their attentionon a limited stimulus ﬁeld, ﬁltering out irrelevant thoughts and perceptions. Flow thus affects users’ perceived instrumentality positively.Venkatesh, Speier, and Morris (2002) also conﬁrm that intrinsic motivation increases the deliberation and thoroughness of cognitive pro-cessing; accordingly, intrinsic motivation leads to enhanced perceptions of extrinsic-motivation (i.e. PU). Finally, Davis et al. (1992) propose that perceived enjoyment inﬂuences usage intention directly (cf. Atkinson & Kydd, 1997; Igbaria etal., 1996; Venkatesh, 1999). For instance, Teo, Lim, and Lai (1999) ﬁnd that perceived enjoyment is one of the motivations for the use of theInternet. Users will try a technology – even if they do not have a positive attitude towards using it – because it may provide not only extrin-sic efﬁciency (i.e. PU) but also psychological and intrinsic pleasure (i.e. ﬂow) (cf. Sánchez-Franco, 2006). In short, ﬂow will also inﬂuence BI (a) directly; and (b) through its effects on PU and PEOU. Based on the previous arguments, this re-search proposes the following hypotheses (see Fig. 1): H4. FLOW positively inﬂuences PU of Web-based technologies. H5. FLOW positively inﬂuences BI to use Web-based technologies. H6. FLOW positively inﬂuences PEOU of Web-based technologies.2.2. PAQ and the theoretical model Zhang et al. (2006) suggest that the dimension called perceived affective quality (PAQ) of a technology is an important dimension regard-ing acceptance. As Russell (2003, p. 149; cf. also Russell, 1980) summarises, ‘‘objects, events, and places (real, imagined, remembered, oranticipated) enter consciousness affectively interpreted. The PAQ of all the stimuli typically impinging at any one time (how pleasant,unpleasant, exciting, boring, upsetting, or soothing each is) then inﬂuences subsequent reactions to those stimuli”. That is, PAQ is the abilityto cause a change in core affect. Applying PAQ concept to the Web-based applications environment, PAQ begins with how Web-basedapplications are being pleasant (valence value) and interesting (arousal value) (Zhang et al., 2006). Based on Russell’s emotional episode, users’ primitive affective reaction to ICT (i.e. PAQ), has an impact on their consequent reactionssuch as PU, PEOU and FLOW, as well as on BI. The basis of PAQ’s impact on PU and PEOU is very similar to that of ﬂow on them (see alsoZhang et al., 2006). On the one hand, PAQ contributes to the individuals’ PEOU: ‘‘when the person considers the technology to be pleasantand interesting, the person would not perceive to have difﬁculty to interact with the technology” (Zhang et al., 2006, p. 4). On the otherhand, Zhang et al. (2006, p. 4) also comment that ‘‘feeling pleasant and being intrigued by the technology, the person would positively esti-mate the potential consequences of using the technology toward his/her goals (i.e. PU) according to the principle of mood congruence” (cf.Bagozzi, Gopinath, & Nyer, 1999; Bower, 1981, 1991; Chen & Dubinsky, 2003). Likewise, the dimensions of PAQ have direct connections to ﬂow. When individuals are completely involved with an activity and totallyabsorbed in it, they could experience a state of ﬂow. However, an important prerequisite for this rewarding experience is that an individualis able to accomplish the task. And it is equally important for it to be experienced as a challenge. The individual perceives stimulation (i.e.arousal) and unambiguous feedback (i.e. perceived control related to pleasure) inherent in Web-based applications (i.e. PAQ). Studiesapplying the perspective of ﬂow show that to provide intrinsically enjoyable experiences, ICT must represent a challenge to the user asa possible antecedent of perceived arousal and allow for perceived control (cf. Csikszentmihalyi, 1975). Finally, PAQ also occurs before ﬂow.Russell’s prototypical case indicates that a plan for action is formed after the perception of affective quality. This plan of action is the BIconcept (cf. Zhang & Li, 2004). Based on the previous arguments, this research proposes the following hypotheses (see Fig. 1): H7. PAQ positively inﬂuences PU of Web-based technologies. H8. PAQ positively inﬂuences perceived FLOW elicited by Web-based technologies. H9. PAQ positively inﬂuences PEOU of Web-based technologies.H10. PAQ positively inﬂuences BI to use of Web-based technologies.2.3. The interacting effect of PAQ on extending technology model and the theoretical model As Russell (2003, p. 157) recommends, ‘‘it is especially important to distinguish perception of affective quality from core affect, eventhough the two are empirically and conceptually related”. Whereas core affect exists within the person, affective quality exists in thestimulus. On the one hand, PAQ begins with how Web-based applications are being pleasant and interesting. On the other hand, if users
40 M.J. Sanchez-Franco / Computers & Education 54 (2010) 37–46perceive ICT to be pleasant and interesting, they will possess a positive pleasure and arousal. PAQ therefore, inﬂuences users’ affective reac-tions. In particular, ‘‘the examples in which core affect and perception of affective quality are positively correlated are those in which onehas the object perceived” (e.g. one enjoys the pleasant Web-based applications one is using). Users – who perceive ICT to be pleasant and interesting – will show less concern for the risks associated with tasks; and are likely to feelmotivated to act in an innovative and exploratory way, whereas users – who perceive ICT to be unpleasant and overwhelming- approach thesame tasks conservatively and defensively (cf. Isen, 2000). For instance, interest and stimulation create the urge to explore, take in new infor-mation and experiences, and expand the self in the process. Eroglu, Machleit, and Davis (2003) suggest that affective reactions affect users’risk seeking/avoidance behavior. For instance, as Csikszentmihalyi (1997) summarises, when a person is anxious or worried, for example,the step to ﬂow often seems too far, and one retreats to a less challenging situation instead of trying a cope. Therefore, users – whoperceive ICT to be pleasant and stimulating – will be less likely to develop PU and BI based mainly on PEOU because of reducing their worriesabout risk, and increasing exploratory behaviors. These users (1) are likely higher motivated to act in an innovative way; (2) would make BIto use ICT more dependent on ﬂow, and, as commented above, less dependent on PEOU. On the contrary, users (who perceive ICT to beunpleasant and overwhelming) show conservative and defensive behaviors and greater concern for the risks associated with ICT. Consider-ing them personal threats, they think of (a) their personal deﬁciencies, (b) the obstacles they will ﬁnd, and (c) adverse results, instead ofconcentrating on the way of performing the task satisfactorily. That is, with perceived uncertainty and vulnerability, the need to PEOU –in developing BI – becomes relevant. PEOU becomes an essential dimension of extending TAM in these users who perceive negative affectivequalities. Moreover, the impact of PU on BI could be negatively moderated by the level of affective qualities the individuals perceive. In essence,when users perceive ICT to be pleasant and stimulating, the impact of PU (at whatever level) on future intention to use would be lower;that is, ‘‘when IT usage is extremely enjoyable, instrumental issues, such as perceived usefulness, ought not to come into one’s decision-making criteria for future usage” (Chin, Marcolin, & Newsted, 2003, p. 210). However, these users (1) are likely to devote more effort to agiven task; and, faced with the same tasks, (2) are likely to expect higher odds of success and construe these task goals as more desirablethan users who perceive ICT to be overwhelming. PAQ dimension could, therefore, have – at least at the conceptual level – a mixed inter-action effect on the relationship among PU and BI. The results suggest the need for further research regarding the role of affects in generaland PAQ in particular for moderating the relationship among PU and ICT intentions and usage behaviors. Based on the previous arguments, this research proposes the following hypotheses (see Fig. 1):H11. PU does not inﬂuence BI to use Web-based technologies signiﬁcantly in users who perceive Web-based technologies to be pleasant and stimulating.H12. PEOU inﬂuences PU of Web-based technologies less signiﬁcantly in users who perceive Web-based technologies to be pleasant and stimulating.H13. PEOU inﬂuences BI to use Web-based technologies less signiﬁcantly in users who perceive Web-based technologies to be pleasant and stimulating.H14. FLOW inﬂuences BI to use Web-based technologies more signiﬁcantly in users who perceive Web-based technologies to be pleasant and stimulating.3. Method3.1. Treatment The purpose of this study was to examine learners’ interest in electronic learning technologies in order to determine their acceptance asa tool for delivering classes. The technology studied is the WebCT. The ﬁrst time when WebCT was adopted was during the period 2007–2008. In particular, the WebCT is a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) designed to deliver online course content, assessments and commu-nication. ‘‘WebCT or Blackboard are educational platforms that have been adopted by numerous universities in order to enable teachers tohave a ﬂexible virtual learning environment to deliver online quizzes or courses in addition to standard classes” (Limniou et al., 2009, p.46). WebCT does not require technical expertise on behalf of the course designer. In our study, the online lecture contained a complete set of theoretical/practical notes, assignments and exams, and uses many of col-laborative online features. Cooperation, coordination, and collective approaches are all desirable characteristics. Learners in a cooperativeenvironment have been found to outperform other work groups (Lu et al., 2003). WebCT site therefore, contained the following features:– Firstly, each week, the instructor uploaded educational materials for learners to study as Power Point slides (for printing), class notes, unit/section modules, and links to relevant external resources. The content module provided a table of contents-structure for easily accessing course content documents. Therefore, the educational materials were not limited for cost reasons to particular course texts or readings.– Secondly, the WebCT help learners keep track of learning progress. Each month, the instructor designed cases analysis, and online quiz- zes/exams to help learners understand and exercise the content. Likewise, important dates were posted on the calendar; i.e. dates of quizzes, cases and the ﬁnal exam.– Thirdly, the WebCT also incorporates collaborative tools like chat, discussion boards, and e-mail. The WebCT provides the capacity for synchronous (chat-room) and asynchronous subject-based discussions (threaded bulletin-boards). These tools enable learners and the instructor to have broader access to one another as needed. In particular, learners attended lectures asked questions by e-mail, bulletin boards, or in real-time live chat. Each learner was required to make comment on questions posted by the instructor. Learners also offered additional resources and relevant websites. Learners could perform functions such as exchanging messages with other learners. In short, Bulletin boards allowed enhanced, standardized, and timely communications with learners/instructor in all sections. Messages posted to the Bulletin Board were viewable by everyone.
M.J. Sanchez-Franco / Computers & Education 54 (2010) 37–46 413.2. Participants Theoretical model and the hypotheses discussed above were validated through a non-probabilistic sampling and self-selection. The dataare collected from a sample of online questionnaires ﬁlled out by undergraduate students (University of Seville, Spain). Invitation e-mailswere sent to the selected learners, requesting their participation. This questionnaire is design to get input on the questions from each stu-dent registered in the Web-based modules. The data collection process was programmed to list the questions in a random order for each participant, avoiding potential systematicbiases in the data and other cognitive consistency patterns. We also eliminate the respondents who have missing data in any of the survey’sitems. The exclusion of invalid questionnaires results in 431 effective learners. A preliminary analysis of the data reveals that the respon-dents are almost evenly split by sex. The sample consisted of 431 students ranging in age from 19 to 26 with a mean age of 22 years. Of the431 students, 52 were male and 48 were female. Students had an average of 5 years using the Web, and spent an average of 2 h per weekusing the WebCT.3.3. Measures Instrument development ﬁrst consists in reviewing the literature so as to identify measures for each construct (cf. Davis, 1989 – PU andPEOU; Agarwal & Karahanna, 2000 – BI; Novak, Hoffman, & Yung, 2000 – FLOW). PAQ is measured by four aspects of quality as validated byRussell and Pratt (1980; cf. also Zhang & Li, 2005): arousing, sleepy, pleasant, and unpleasant. All items are 5-point Likert-type, rangingfrom ‘‘strongly disagree”, 1, to ‘‘strongly agree”, 5, excepting FLOW1 and FLOW2 (not at all sure, 1 – completely sure, 5; never, 1 – veryfrequently, 5, respectively). See Appendix. Our survey instrument is pre-tested for content analysis. The measures of the constructs adapt scales already proposed and validated inthe literature. However, this research applies various reﬁnement procedures for clarity, completeness, and readability. The measurementsmust reﬂect the speciﬁc intended domain of content. To make sure that important aspects of constructs were not omitted, the authors con-ducted personal interviews and surveys on e-learning with learners and professors. Speciﬁcally, 20 learners establish content validitythrough individual interviews; the characteristics of our sample were similar to them. Moreover, three marketing professors – majoringin ICT – check the suitability of the wording and format, and also assess the degree to which authors accurately translated the constructsinto the operationalisation.3.4. Data analysis The proposed model and hypothesis testing is conducted using partial least squares (PLS) Version 3.00 Build 1058 (Chin, 2003). PLS al-lows both the specifying of the relationships among the conceptual factors of interest and the measures underlying each construct. Thisresult is a simultaneous analysis of (a) how well the measures relate to each construct and (b) whether the hypothesized relationshipsare empirically true at the theoretical level. Speciﬁcally, examining interaction effects with covariance methods – when the interaction involves Likert-scale variables – may beproblematic because of relevant degrees of shared variance. In such cases, the academic literature recommends employing PLS.4. Results4.1. Measurement model PAQ is a second order construct with four dimensions: arousal, sleepy, pleasant, and unpleasant qualities. This implies that PAQ will bemeasured by a number of ﬁrst-order latent variables. The items for four dimensions are, therefore, optimally weighted and combined usingthe PLS algorithm to create latent variables scores. The resulting scores reﬂect the underlying dimensions more accurately than any of theindividual items by accounting for the unique factors and error measurements that may also affect each item (Chin & Gopal, 1995). Thecomposite reliabilities and the average variance extracted (AVE) for the dimensions are over the recommended acceptable 0.7 level and0.5, respectively. The following step is testing the psychometric properties of the measurement model. See Tables 1A and B. On the one hand, the loadingsof the items with their respective construct assess individual reﬂective-item reliability. A rule of thumb followed by many researchers is toaccept items higher than 0.7 (Carmines & Zeller, 1979). The individual reﬂective-item reliabilities – in terms of standardized loadings – areover the acceptable cut-off level of 0.7. The signiﬁcance of the loadings is checked with a re-sampling procedure (500 sub-samples) forobtaining t-statistic values. They all are signiﬁcant (p < 0.001). On the other hand, the composite reliability (qc) assesses construct reliabil-ity (Werts, Linn, & Jöreskog, 1974). Nunnally (1978) suggests 0.7 as a benchmark for a modest reliability applicable in initial stages of re-search. The composite reliability for each construct is over the recommended acceptable 0.7 level. The results are thus satisfactory. SeeTable 1A. Finally, convergent and discriminant validities are assessed by applying the fact that the square root of the average variance extracted(AVE) by a construct from its indicators (a) should be at least 0.7 (i.e. AVE > 0.5); and (b) should be greater than that construct’s correlationwith other constructs, respectively (Barclay, Higgins, & Thompson, 1995; Chin, 1998; Fornell & Larcker, 1981). All latent constructs satisfythis condition. The convergent and discriminant validities of the multi-item constructs of the models are thus acceptable. See Table 1B.4.2. Structural model: analysis of results Fig. 2 shows the path coefﬁcients for the model (interaction effects model) and their signiﬁcance levels. As recommended by Chin(1998), bootstrapping (with 500 sub-samples) was performed to test the statistical signiﬁcance of each path coefﬁcient using t-tests.
42 M.J. Sanchez-Franco / Computers & Education 54 (2010) 37–46Table 1Measurement model.Dimensions Loadingsa Composite reliability AVE(A). Individual item reliability-individual item loadings. Construct reliability and convergent validity coefﬁcientsBehavioral intention 0.910 0.772 BI1 0.928 BI2 0.880 BI3 0.826Perceived usefulness 0.945 0.776 PU1 0.860 PU2 0.852 PU3 0.923 PU4 0.894 PU5 0.874Perceived ease of use 0.893 0.582 PEOU1 0.761 PEOU2 0.768 PEOU3 0.732 PEOU4 0.850 PEOU5 0.763 PEOU6 0.701Flow 0.890 0.730 FLOW1 0.878 FLOW2 0.831 FLOW3 0.853Perceived affective quality 0.861 0.610 AQ: arousal quality 0.897 PQ: pleasant quality 0.702 SQ: sleepy qualityR 0.772 R UQ: unpleasant quality 0.748 Behavioral intention Perceived usefulness Perceived ease of use Flow Perceived affective quality(B). Discriminant validity coefﬁcientsBehavioral intention 0.879Perceived usefulness 0.582 0.880Perceived ease of use 0.415 0.666 0.762Flow 0.402 0.364 0.321 0.854Perceived affective quality 0.640 0.635 0.378 0.345 0.781Note: Diagonal elements (bold) are the square root of average variance extracted (AVE) between the constructs and their measures. Off-diagonal elements are correlationsbetween constructs. a All loadings are signiﬁcant at p < 0.001 – (based on t(499), one-tailed test). R Reversed. .416a PAQ .021ns PU .446a .054c .134b PAQ .345a FLOW .130a BI .363a .233a .216a -.031ns .303a -.251a PEOU -.200b PAQ PAQ Directeffect Interactioneffect * BI: Behavioral Intention; PU:Perceived Usefulness; PEOU: Perceived Ease of Use; FLOW: Flow; PAQ: Perceived Affective Quality a p < 0.001, b p < 0.01, c p < 0.05, ns = not significant (based on t(499), one-tailed test) Fig. 2. Research model: interaction effects model. Results.
M.J. Sanchez-Franco / Computers & Education 54 (2010) 37–46 43 Three models (main effects model, main effects + PAQ model and interaction effects model) seem to have an appropriate predictivepower for most of the dependent variables; i.e. variances explained, or R-square values, for endogenous constructs exceed the requiredamount of 0.10 (Falk & Miller, 1992). Another measure that supports these positive results is the Q2 test of predictive relevance for the endogenous constructs (Geisser, 1975;Stone, 1974). The cross-validated redundancy measure it has been particularly suggested to examine the predictive relevance of the the-oretical/structural model (Chin, 1998). A Q2 greater than 0 implies that the model has predictive relevance, whereas a Q2 less than 0 sug-gests that the model lacks predictive relevance. In general, the results conﬁrm that the main effects model (Q2 PU: 0.336; Q2 PEOU: 0.060;Q2 BI: 0.012), the main effects + PAQ model (Q2 FLOW: 0.076; Q2 PU: 0.277; Q2 PEOU: 0.076; Q2 BI: 0.281) and interaction effects model (Q2FLOW: 0.076; Q2 PU: 0.281; Q2 PEOU: 0.076; Q2 BI: 0.277) have satisfactory predictive relevance for the endogenous variables. As indicated by the main effects model, PU and FLOW have signiﬁcant impacts on BI, with paths coefﬁcients of 0.493 and 0.214, respec-tively. However, PEOU has no signiﬁcant impact on BI. The constructs account for 38.5% of the variance in BI. PEOU and FLOW have alsosigniﬁcant effects on PU (Beta = 0.609 and Beta = 0.175, respectively) with 47.3% variance explained. Further, FLOW signiﬁcantly inﬂuencesPEOU (Beta = 0.333). Secondly, as indicated main effects + PAQ model, PU and FLOW have signiﬁcant impacts on BI, with paths coefﬁcients of 0.213 and0.158, respectively. However, PEOU has no signiﬁcant impact on BI. PAQ has signiﬁcant impacts on PU, FLOW, PEOU and BI, with pathscoefﬁcients of 0.432, 0.345, 0.303 and 0.427, respectively. The constructs account for 48.6% of the variance in BI. Also, FLOW has a signif-icant effect on PEOU and PU (Beta = 0.216 and Beta = 0.060, respectively). Further, PEOU signiﬁcantly inﬂuences PU (Beta = 0.484). Thirdly, as indicated interaction effects model, the interaction effects is included in addition to the main effects + PAQ model (see Fig. 2).As in regression analysis, the predictor and moderator variable are multiplied to obtain the interaction terms. According to the paper by Chinet al. (2003), it is recommended to standardize the product indicators. Furthermore, in the presence of signiﬁcant interaction terms involvingany of the main effects, no direct conclusion can be drawn from these main effects alone (cf. Aiken & West, 1991; Darlington, 1990). Empirical research follows the hierarchical process similar to multiple regression where the R-square for this interaction model is com-pared to the R-square for the main effects model and main effects + PAQ model, which exclude the interaction constructs (Chin, 1994). Thedifference in R-square was used to assess the overall effect size f2 for the interaction where 0.02, 0.15 and 0.35 has been suggested as small,moderate, and large effects, respectively (Cohen, 1988). The interaction effects model, in which PAQ is proposed to quasi-moderate theextending TAM, possesses a signiﬁcantly higher explanatory power than the main effects model. The effect size f2 for the interaction effectis 0.300 (i.e. moderate). Further, the interaction effects model also possesses a signiﬁcantly higher explanatory power than the main effect-s + PAQ model. The effect size f2 for the interaction effect is 0.163 (i.e. moderate). On the one hand, the results give a signiﬁcant standardized beta of 0.134 from PU to BI, and 0.130 from FLOW to BI. PEOU has no sig-niﬁcant impact on BI (Beta = À0.031). In turn, FLOW signiﬁcantly inﬂuences PU and PEOU (Beta = 0.054 and Beta = 0.216, respectively);also, PEOU signiﬁcantly inﬂuences PU (Beta = 0.363). Moreover, PAQ has signiﬁcant impacts on PU, FLOW and PEOU, with paths coefﬁcientsof 0.446, 0.345 and 0.303, respectively. Finally, PAQ signiﬁcantly inﬂuences BI (Beta = 0.416). On the other hand, the interaction effects are of 0.021 (PUÃPAQ ? BI), 0.233 (FLOWÃPAQ ? BI), À0.200 (PEOUÃPAQ ? BI) and À0.251(PEOUÃPAQ ? PU) with a total R-square BI of 0.57. According to the strength of moderating effects, the path coefﬁcient of the interaction termindicates to which extent the exogenous variable’s inﬂuence on the endogenous variable changes depending on the moderating variable(Henseler & Fassott, 2007). In case of standardized variables, if the moderator variable (i.e. PAQ) is one -one standard deviation higher thanits mean-, the exogenous variable’s inﬂuence (e.g. FLOW) on the endogenous variable (e.g. BI) would be 0.130 + 0.233 (see Fig. 2 and Table 2). H11 PAQ does not moderate the impact of PU to BI (PUÃPAQ ? BI: 0.021). H12 PAQ moderates the impact of PEOU to PU. That is, PAQ would positively moderate the relationship between PEOU and PU. H13 PAQ reduces the impact of PEOU to BI from À0.031 to À0.231, such that the greater user’s PAQ, the lower the relationship between PEOU and BI. H14 PAQ positively moderates the relationship between FLOW and BI, such that the greater user’s PAQ, the higher the relationship between FLOW and BI.Table 2Hypotheses, path coefﬁcients and results.Relationships Hi Main effects model Main effects + PAQ model Interaction effects model SupportedPU ? BI H1 0.493ª 0.213a 0.134b YesPEOU ? PU H2 0.609ª 0.484a 0.363ª YesPEOU ? BI H3 0.019ns 0.061ns À0.031ns NoFLOW ? PU H4 0.175ª 0.060c 0.054c YesFLOW ? BI H5 0.214a 0.158a 0.130a YesFLOW ? PEOU H6 0.333a 0.216a 0.216a YesPAQ ? PU H7 0.432a 0.446a YesPAQ ? FLOW H8 0.345a 0.345a YesPAQ ? PEOU H9 0.303a 0.303a YesPAQ ? BI H10 0.427a 0.416a YesPUÃPAQ ? BI H11 0.021ns YesPEOUÃPAQ ? PU H12 À0.251a YesPEOUÃPAQ ? BI H13 À0.200b YesFLOWÃPAQ ? BI H14 0.233a YesR-square ? BI 0.38 0.48 0.57BI: behavioral intention; PU: perceived usefulness; PEOU: perceived ease of use; FLOW: ﬂow; PAQ: perceived affective quality. a p < 0.001. b p < 0.01. c p < 0.05. ns Not signiﬁcant (based on t(499), one-tailed test).
44 M.J. Sanchez-Franco / Computers & Education 54 (2010) 37–465. Discussion and limitations The Web offers unprecedented opportunities for world-wide access to information resources; speciﬁcally, ‘‘the Web and associatedtechnologies provided a new playground with new rules and tools to conduct instruction and create novel approaches to learning” (Saadé,2003, p. 267). In this regard, understanding learners’ affective evaluation of ICT is essential; i.e. e-learning tools move away from function-ality and utility alone, towards the learners’ experiences and their affects. In Information System affects historically receive scarce atten-tion, being perceived affective quality (PAQ) an attractive area of research in technology-enhanced learning. In particular, this researchprovided innovative insights into the complex interaction between PAQ and extending TAM, showing the differential effects that PAQcan cause. Firstly, Web planners (e.g. educators) should increase: (1) learners’ perception of ICT as enjoyable and stimulating; and (2) enduringexposures to the site facilitating the likelihood of reaping the rewards of increased repeat visits and longer times at each visit. In this sense,PEOU and PU would not be the only traditional criterion for Web-based applications design. An additional determinant must be its ‘‘enjoy-able and stimulating perception” (i.e. PAQ), so that it evokes compelling experiences (i.e. FLOW) and, therefore, increases proﬁtable websiteuse. PAQ is thus a highly desirable goal to increase the effectiveness of online learning experiences. Secondly, as we stated above, learners who perceive ICT to be pleasant and stimulating will probably want to maintain or increase theiraffective responses. This substantiates the importance of the Web-based applications to be intrinsically perceived as enjoyable and stim-ulating in order to promote a strong positive BI (FLOWÃPAQ ? BI: 0.233). Further, learners seek higher optimal stimulation and challengingICT and, speciﬁcally, lower PEOU levels to try Web-based applications because they have a basic need for competence (PEOUÃPAQ ? BI:À0.200; and PEOUÃPU ? BI: À0.251). For instance, individualistic scripts should focus on the following learner-interface and design ele-ments; on the one hand, work tasks, roles, and mastery, with quick results for limited tasks (aspects traditionally related to instrumentalactivities and, in turn, PU); and, on the other hand, navigation oriented to exploration and control (aspects traditionally related to ﬂow-based activities) and attention gained through games and competitions (cf. Sánchez-Franco, 2006). Thirdly, studies applying the perspectives of PAQ have shown that to provide intrinsic enjoyment, educational services must represent acertain challenge to learners. A Web-based applications must be designed to be stimulating to use and to evoke compelling user experi-ences to increase proﬁtable Web-based applications usage. In fact, when the challenges are signiﬁcantly lower than skills (e.g. excessivePEOU), higher boredom could be the result. If the challenges are too low, learners lose interest and tend to use the electronic applicationssporadically (e.g. PEOUÃPAQ ? BI: À0.200). Hence the model shows the time progression as one continues to learn a new skill and pro-gresses up the ﬂow channel. Lastly, present study recognises a series of limitations. First, the model clearly does not include all the relevant variables. For instance,future studies should test the possible inclusion of other external variables (e.g. certain resources, such as time). Second, learner’s percep-tion can change over time. Therefore, future research should measure the constructs (i.e. extending TAM and PAQ) at several points of timetaking into account the dynamics in user patronage behavior. Third, we restricted our investigation to intrinsic and extrinsic motives. How-ever, learner behavior is explained via a model in which behavior, cognitive and personal factors and environmental events all operateinteractively as determinants of each other. Thus, it is necessary to fulﬁl the model with the role of consumer demographic variablesand navigation context (work/home, high/low download, etc.) that are unexplored in this research (Sánchez-Franco, 2005). There has beenrecent steady progress towards an understanding of the effects of website characteristics (interactivity, depth of information, etc.) and usercharacteristics, such as personal Internet savvy, innovativeness/predisposition to technology, frequency of service use, etc. (cf. Shankar,Smith, & Rangaswamy, 2003). Finally, more studies are needed to validate, expand, synthesise, and generalise these results (cf. Zhang &Li, 2005). As Khalid (2006, p. 417) summarises, ‘‘much needs to be done to develop predictive models of affect and pleasure for designof products and interfaces”.6. Conclusions Our research contributes to the existing literature by examining the inﬂuence of affective reactions in determining the WebCTacceptance as a tool for delivering classes in an online setting. The research explored what learners think about while they interactwith the WebCT. In particular, the theoretical proposals within this paper focused upon the impact of PAQ, FLOW, PU, and PEOU onBI. Likewise, the study hypothesized the existence of moderating effects of PAQ on the extending Technology Acceptance Model(TAM). PLS technique has been applied to analyze the measurement model and structural model concurrently in order to validate the previousset of hypotheses and indicators. The measurement model was valid with adequate convergent and discriminant validity with respect tothe measurements of all the constructs. All path coefﬁcients in the structural model were statistically signiﬁcant, excepting PEOU ? BI andPUÃPAQ ? BI. The results (1) demonstrated that the proposed model signiﬁcantly predicts BI; and (2) provided strong support for the pro-posals that PU, PEOU and FLOW (directly or indirectly) lead the learners towards developing high intention to use Web-based applications(speciﬁcally, WebCT). Likewise, PAQ exhibited relevant interaction effects on extending TAM. Therefore, this study extends previous research, which focuses primarily on the main effects of PAQ, by ﬁnding further support for sig-niﬁcant interactions between PAQ and extending TAM. That is, in order to establish an enduring relationship between learners and onlinelearning technologies, designers should take account of ability to cause a change in core affect when allocating their design efforts to PAQ,FLOW, PEOU and PU initiatives. Future research should thus be aware of the importance of the quasimoderating effects of PAQ on WebCTacceptance.Acknowledgements The authors are grateful to the Editor, Dr. Rachelle S. Heller, and the Reviewers for their constructive comments.
M.J. Sanchez-Franco / Computers & Education 54 (2010) 37–46 45Appendix A. Instructions/items Please grade from 1 to 5 your level of agreement or disagreement with the following statements in relation to the usage of the WebCT inthis course.Perceived usefulness (PU). Source: Davis (1989) PU1. Using the WebCT improved my performance PU2. Using the WebCT enhanced my productivity PU3. Using the WebCT enhanced my effectiveness PU4. Using the WebCT was interesting PU5. Using the WebCT was usefulPerceived ease of use (PEOU). Source: Davis (1989) PEOU1. Learning to operate the WebCT was easy for me PEOU2. I ﬁnd it easy to get the WebCT to do what I wanted it to do PEOU3. My interaction with the WebCT was clear and understandable PEOU4. I ﬁnd the WebCT to be ﬂexible to interact with PEOU5. It was easy for me to become skilful at using the WebCT PEOU6. I ﬁnd the WebCT easy to useFlow (FLOW). Source: Novak, Hoffman and Yung (2000)The word ‘‘ﬂow” is used to describe a state of mind sometimes experienced by people who are deeply involved in some activity. One example of ﬂow is the case where a professional athlete is playing exceptionally well and achieves a state of mind where nothing else matters but the game; he or she is completely and totally immersed in it. The experience is not exclusive to athletics; many people report this state of mind when playing games, engaging in hobbies; or working. Activities that lead to ﬂow completely captivate a person for some period of time. When one is in ﬂow, time may seem to stand still, and nothing else seems to matter. Flow may not last or a long time on any particular occasion, but it may come and go over time. Flow has been described as an intrinsically enjoyable experience. Thinking about your use of WebCT: FLOW1. Do you think you have ever experienced ﬂow on WebCT?* FLOW2. In general, how frequently would you say you have experienced ﬂow when you use WebCT?* FLOW3. Most of the time I use WebCT I feel that I am in ﬂow.Behavioral intention (BI). Source: Agarwal and Karahanna (2000) BI1. I plan to use the WebCT in the future BI2. I intend to continue using the WebCT in the future BI3. I expect my use of the WebCT to continue in the futureFLOW1 and FLOW2 (not at all sure, 1 – completely sure, 5; never, 1 – very frequently, 5, respectively).Please, rate how accurately each word described the WebCT on a 5-point Likert-scale. Source: Zhang and Li (2005).AQ. Arousal quality PQ. Pleasant quality AQ1. Intense PQ1. Pleasant AQ2. Arousing PQ2. Nice AQ3. Active PQ3. Pleasing AQ4. Alive PQ4. Pretty AQ5. Forceful PQ5. BeautifulSQ. Sleepy quality UQ. Unpleasant quality SQ1. Inactive UQ1. Dissatisfying SQ2. Drowsy UQ2. Displeasing SQ3. Idle UQ3. Repulsive SQ4. Lazy UQ4. Unpleasant SQ5. Slow UQ5. UncomfortableReferencesAgarwal, R., & Karahanna, E. (2000). Time ﬂies when you’re having fun: Cognitive absorption and beliefs about information technology usage. MIS Quarterly, 24(4), 665–694.Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Area Moreira, M. (2005). Internet y la calidad de la educación superior en la perspectiva de la convergencia europea. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 63, 85–100.Atkinson, M., & Kydd, C. (1997). Individual characteristics associated with World Wide Web use: An empirical study of playfulness and motivation. The Data Base for Advances in Information Systems, 28(2), 53–62.Bagozzi, R. P., Gopinath, M., & Nyer, P. U. (1999). The role of emotions in marketing. Journal of Academy of Marketing Sciences, 27(2), 184–206.Barak, M. (2007). Transition from traditional to ICT-enhanced learning environments in undergraduate chemistry courses. Computers & Education, 48(1), 30–43.Barclay, D., Higgins, C., & Thompson, R. (1995). The Partial Least Squares (PLS) approach to causal modeling: Personal computer adoption and use as an illustration. Technology Studies, 2(2), 285–309.Bem, D. J. (1972). Self-perception theory. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.). Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 6, pp. 1–62). New York: Academic Press.Bower, G. H. (1981). Mood and memory. American Psychologist, 36, 129–148.Bower, G. H. (1991). Mood congruity of social judgments. In J. P. Forgas (Ed.), Emotion and social judgments (pp. 31–53). Elmsford, NY: Pergamon Press.Carmines, E. G., & Zeller, R. A. (1979). Reliability and validity assessment. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Chen, Z., & Dubinsky, A. J. (2003). A conceptual model of perceived customer value in E-Commerce. A preliminary investigation. Psychology & Marketing, 20(4), 323–347.Chin, W. W. (1994). PLS-graph manual. Unpublished. University of Calgary, Calgary.Chin, W. W. (1998). The Partial Least Squares approach for structural equation modelling. In G. A. Marcoulides (Ed.), Modern methods for business research (pp. 295–336). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
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