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The perceptions and implications of techno-stress in an E-learning environment : an exploratory case study
Salem, Houda Sahal Mohamed
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The rapid growth of digital technology has exceeded society’s expectations. The overload and pace of technological advances causes many individuals at the workplace or organisations of higher learning, such as universities of technology, to become exposed and prone to stress. Students in higher education environments often find themselves vulnerable to technological stress. The problem is that we do not know the extent of the perceived implications of techno-stress, and it is not clear what the perceived psychological and emotional implications of techno-stress may have on the academic performance of higher education students. The study investigated the perceptions and implications of techno-stress in an e-learning environment to explore and describe the implications of techno-stress; the physical, mental and behavioural outcomes also how it impacts on the academic performance of students at higher education institutions. The questions of the study were focused on finding what the implications of techno-stress are as perceived by students on their studies; what the types and elements of techno-stress that students experience at universities; what the potential causes of techno-stress are as perceived by students; and how students think techno-stress impacts on their academic performance. The qualitative methods approach was used. It was found that students were more stressed over technology when problems occur as they lack the ability to manage or control it, and it was evident that this influence had an undesirable consequence on students’ results. The research concluded that despite the importance technology plays in an e-learning environment by allowing students to conduct their research, download class material and learn online, students perceive technology as an important source of stress. Despite technology’s advantages mentioned above, technology can be unpredictable and when problems occur, students exhibit lack of skills to manage or control it. It was recommended that universities of technology such as CPUT should design a program that helps students to cope with techno-stress.