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The acceptance of a personal learning environment based on Google apps: the role of subjective norms and social image


The international higher education system should be grounded in an educational approach in which teaching and learning methods aim to transform the student into an active agent in their learning process. The present study aims to learn how intention to use a personal learning environment based on Google applications for supporting collaborative learning is formed, in the context of university student learning. For this purpose, an expansion of the technology acceptance models was proposed including subjective norms and social image. The model was empirically evaluated using survey data collected from 267 students from a marketing management degree course, on which Google applications (apps) were used to design a learning environment to support project work and learning. The results show the suitability of the extended TAM to explain the intention to use Google apps as a personal learning environment in the university context. More specifically, subjective norms contributed to the indirect effect on the intention to use Google apps through social image and had a substantial positive influence on the social image. Meanwhile, social image had a significant positive direct effect on perceived usefulness. The results of the present study have a series of practical implications for the higher education sector.

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This study was carried out thanks to financing received from the Teaching innovation project 12-64 by the University of Granada (Spain).

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Correspondence to Ana Isabel Polo-Peña.

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Appendix 1

See Table 4.

Table 4 Acceptance of using e-learning technologies, according to studies using the TAM.

Appendix 2

See Table 5.

Table 5 Variables and items covered by the questionnaire

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Rejón-Guardia, F., Polo-Peña, A.I. & Maraver-Tarifa, G. The acceptance of a personal learning environment based on Google apps: the role of subjective norms and social image. J Comput High Educ (2019).

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  • Personal learning environments
  • Subjective norms
  • Social image
  • Google apps
  • Technology acceptance model