Advances in computing and information technology are changing the way people meet and communicate. People can meet, talk, and work together outside traditional meeting and office spaces. For instance, with the introduction of software designed to help people schedule meetings and facilitate decision or learning processes, is weakening geographical constraints and changing interpersonal communication dynamics. Information technology is also dramatically affecting the way people teach and learn.
As new information technologies infiltrate workplaces, home, and classrooms, research on user acceptance of new technologies has started to receive much attention from professionals as well as academic researchers. Developers and software industries are beginning to realize that lack of user acceptance of technology can lead to loss of money and resources.
In studying user acceptance and use of technology, the TAM is one of the most cited models. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) was developed by Davis to explain computer-usage behavior. The theoretical basis of the model was Fishbein and Ajzen's Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA).
The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) is an information systems (System consisting of the network of all communication channels used within an organization) theory that models how users come to accept and use a technology, The model suggests that when users are presented with a new software package, a number of factors influence their decision about how and when they will use it, notably:
Perceived usefulness (PU) - This was defined by Fred Davis as "the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would enhance his or her job performance".
Perceived ease-of-use (PEOU) Davis defined this as "the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would be free from effort" (Davis, 1989).
The goal of TAM is "to provide an explanation of the determinants of computer acceptance that is general, capable of explaining user behavior across a broad range of end-user computing technologies and user populations, while at the same time being both parsimonious and theoretically justified".
According to the TAM, if a user perceives a specific technology as useful, she/he will believe in a positive use-performance relationship. Since effort is a finite resource, a user is likely to accept an application when she/he perceives it as easier to use than another .As a consequence, educational technology with a high level of PU and PEOU is more likely to induce positive perceptions. The relation between PU and PEOU is that PU mediates the effect of PEOU on attitude and intended use. In other words, while PU has direct impacts on attitude and use, PEOU influences attitude and use indirectly through PU.
User acceptance is defined as "the demonstrable willingness within a user group to employ information technology for the tasks it is designed to support" (Dillon & Morris). Although this definition focuses on planned and intended uses of technology, studies report that individual perceptions of information technologies are likely to be influenced by the objective characteristics of technology, as well as interaction with other users. For example, the extent to which one evaluates new technology as useful, she/he is likely to use it. At the same time, her/his perception of the system is influenced by the way people around her/him evaluate and use the system.
Studies on information technology continuously report that user attitudes are important factors affecting the success of the system. For the past several decades, many definitions of attitude have been proposed. However, all theories consider attitude to be a relationship between a person and an object (Woelfel, 1995).
In the context of information technologies, is an approach to the study of attitude - the technology acceptance model (TAM). TAM suggests users formulate a positive attitude toward the technology when they perceive the technology to be useful and easy to use (Davis, 1989).
A review of scholarly research on IS acceptance and usage suggests that TAM has emerged as one of the most influential models in this stream of research The TAM represents an important theoretical contribution toward understanding IS usage and IS acceptance behaviors. However, this model -- with its original emphasis on the design of system characteristics - does not account for social influence in the adoption and utilization of new information systems.