1.1 Introduction: Web based learning system
Web-based learning system is gaining popularity in education field for the twenty-first century. It has been widely developed and adopted in most of the university. The learning system is not limited by time or place. Thus it can provide students with a learning environment that is more flexible and convenient. It also helps students to learn efficiently, develop their professional expertise quickly, and advance professionally. More and more education institutions provide web based learning systems for the students. It shows that there is an enormous market potential for learning technologies. Therefore, there is an increasing demand for adequate web based learning systems of highest standards and a necessity for powerful. Table 1.1: World Internet Usage and Population Statistics
Source: Internet World Stats – www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm Table 1.1 has shown the world internet usage and population statistics. According to the above table, the growth of world internet usage in different region increases significantly. The growth of the Internet and the increase in the wide range of information distributed via the World Wide Web has strong impact on education so the use of the Internet is increasingly common in the educational environment. University should make full use of the development of the Internet in education today in order to increase the learning efficiency of the undergraduate students. The students are among the users of information from the Internet. However, it is important to find out to what area students use the Internet for academic purposes especially undergraduate students. Web based learning system has been commonly used in both educational and non-educational institutions recently. The percentage of organizations using web based learning system in the employee training programs has shown in a report published by the Giga Information Group The figure rose from 21% in 2002 to 75% in 2005. In addition, US News & World Report had reported almost 75% of the 129 universities listed in “America’s Best Colleges: 2005s Top National Universities” used web-based learning systems in 2007. Thus, it is becoming more and more significant to apply information technologies or systems to facilitate student learning, enhance instructor teaching performance and reduce educational costs (Pituch and Lee, 2006 and Selim, 2007). Nowadays, many textbook authors and publishers have put up companion websites to the students when they buying the textbooks. Usually, only instructors will get the companion website that includes presentation slides, instructor's manual, and test files from the publisher. However, students now can also obtain a lot of information with the companion sites such as lecture files, case studies, chapter outlines, web-based exercises, practice tests, and hyperlinks to websites related to course coverage including examples, cases, and pertinent government regulations and standards. Thus, web based learning has widely used in education today. 1.2 Web based learning system in Malaysia
The beginning of the usage of web based learning system in Malaysia was around year 1980. Web based learning system in Malaysia was started with the external degree programs offered by well-known universities from the United Kingdom such as the University of London had contributed to the beginning of web based learning system usage in Malaysia. Then these were followed by off-campus programs offered by the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). The lack of internet availability and accessibility in Malaysia had limited usage of web based learning during the year 1980s. Furthermore, the face-to-face conventional learning method still was a strong preference in most of the tertiary educational institutions. The year 1995 was considered the beginning of the Internet usage in Malaysia. The growth in the number of Internet hosts in Malaysia began around...