Nowadays many educational institutions have embraced online education to cater for flexible and student-centered learning. Through online education, students have an opportunity to gain education at their own convenience, in terms of time and place. However, it is argued that students are less satisfied with online learning than with traditional classroom learning. As online education continues to expand, the need for determining and maintaining quality online education is becoming an important issue. Therefore, it is important to discern which qualities are necessary for students’ achievement and satisfaction in an online learning environment (OLE). While numerous studies on the qualities of online learners have been conducted, the factors that contribute to success in OLEs have not been adequately described. Therefore, it is important to examine learner characteristics to see their effects on student success in an online environment, which in turn facilitates high quality of online learning. This paper reports on what and how personal characteristics significantly affect students’ online learning readiness at Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak Malaysia. Natural sampling was used to identify the sample and the study sample consisted of 350 voluntary participants. Quantitative method was used to collect relevant data in this study. A questionnaire was developed to gather data on learner personal characteristics, and a diagnostic tool, Tertiary Students’ Readiness for Online Learning (TSROL), developed by Hitendra Pillay, Kym Irving and Megan Tones was adopted to assess learner online learning readiness. The TSROL has 20 items grouped into four factors: Technical skills (TS), Computer self-efficay (CS-E), Learning preferences (LP) and Attitudes towards computers (AC). Moreover, confirmatory data analysis was adopted in this study. A one- way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine if there were significant differences in online learning readiness across the personal characteristics. The statistical results validate that some personal characteristics significantly affect learners’ online learning readiness.
Key words: Online learning, e-learning, student readiness, online student characteristics, online student success
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