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Predicting disadvantaged smallholder farmers’ intention to take distance learning: evidence from China

Abstract

Farmer education and learning have traditionally focused on developing practical farming skills and techniques. Meanwhile, studies on farmer learning and education have not adequately considered its social cognitive dimension. Hence, this study empirically examines farmers’ perceptions of and interest in distance learning, involving 1284 economically disadvantaged farmers from six villages in Anhui Province, China. Through multilevel regression, this study found that learning intention, knowledge of distance learning, learning styles, and perceived usefulness account for significant unique variance in farmers’ interest in undergoing distance learning. Farmer characteristics, such as age, education level, having friends/relatives taking distance learning, and income source, are also some of the predictors of farmers’ interest in undergoing distance learning. The results highlight the need to differentiate preferences, motivations, cognitive styles, and socioeconomic profiles among farmers and understand how they mutually predict farmers’ interest in distance learning. The findings are discussed in light of social cognitive theories and in the context of promoting e-learning and reducing rural poverty in China.

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This study was funded by Open University (Grant No. G18G1840C).

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Yang, L., Yang, G. Predicting disadvantaged smallholder farmers’ intention to take distance learning: evidence from China. Asia Pacific Educ. Rev. (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12564-022-09761-w

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Keywords

  • Distance learning
  • E-learning
  • Farmers
  • Learning styles
  • Motivation for learning
  • Poverty alleviation