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The influence of educational and emotional support on e-learning acceptance: An integration of social support theory and TAM

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number9
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/09/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Education and Information Technologies
Issue number9
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)11145-11165
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date14/02/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Flexible education is considered the primary function of e-learning, however, empirical evidence during the COVID-19 pandemic has also demonstrated that students may seek emotional comforts in e-learning to alleviate their negative emotions. This study aims to provide a holistic view of the antecedents of college students' e-learning acceptance by integrating social support theory with the technology acceptance model. Specifically, drawing upon social support theory, this study adopted perceived educational support and perceived emotional support as two driving factors and examined their influences on students' continuous intention in e-learning. The model was empirically validated using survey data from 512 college respondents in China during the first wave of the pandemic. Our results suggested that while perceived educational support exerts a major influence on e-learning acceptance, perceived emotional support also has an important role to play. Besides, the analytics results suggested that the two facets of support had different influencing patterns: perceived educational support has a positive and significant relationship with both perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness, whereas perceived emotional support solely has a significant relationship with perceived ease of use. Additionally, compared with the prior studies, the effect size ( β ) between perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness is larger in the present study (COVID-19 context). These findings stress the need to better understand the mechanism by which social support influences college students' e-learning acceptance and to make use of various kinds of social supports to enhance perceived ease of use (e.g. human-computer interface), promote perceived usefulness, and ultimately motivate more students' continuance intention in e-learning.