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Research Articles

Evaluation of Computer-Based Learning Materials in Agricultural Information Dissemination in Sri Lanka

Authors:

UI Dissanayeke ,

Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, LK
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HVA Wickramasuriya,

Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, LK
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R Wijekoon

Audio Visual Centre, Department of Agriculture, Peradeniya, LK
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Abstract

Cyber extension, in which computer technology is used to disseminate agricultural information was initiated in 2004 in Sri Lanka with a set of agriculture related Computer-Based Learning Materials (CBLMs) produced and distributed among 45 Cyber Extension Units (CEUs) in the country. However, formal research carried out to test these CBLMs at the field level was very limited. Hence, the objectives of the study were to (i) identify the present status of using CBLMs in agricultural extension in Sri Lanka, and (ii) to evaluate CBLMs used in agricultural extension. Thirteen CEUs were selected using stratified random sampling. Extension officers (n=40) and farmers (n=70), who were exposed to CBLMs were interviewed using two pre-tested interview schedules, to evaluate the content, user-interface, motivation, and media use of CBLMs. Data analysis was done using descriptive statistics and mean comparisons.

Officers were found to be using CBLMs for both receiving and disseminating agricultural information, whilst farmers mainly used them for receiving such information. Use of CBLMs by the officers was positively related to their education (r=0.457, p= 0.003) and computer experience (r=0.418, p=0.007). The majority (76.1%) of the high users were Agricultural Instructors (p=0.000). Use of CBLMs by farmers too was positively related to their education (r = 0.319 p = 0.046). Out of those who had been exposed to cyber extension, the majority of farmers (96.9%) and officers (80%) rated CBLMs as highly effective in terms of delivering agricultural information. Farmers rated CBLMs ahead of officers (t = 3.01, p=0.003). The CBLMs presently used at CEUs are effective in terms of delivering agricultural information. It is important to provide computer training to extension officers attached to the CEUs.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/tar.v21i1.2588


Tropical Agricultural Research Vol. 21(1): 73-79 (2009)

How to Cite: Dissanayeke, U., Wickramasuriya, H. & Wijekoon, R., (2010). Evaluation of Computer-Based Learning Materials in Agricultural Information Dissemination in Sri Lanka. Tropical Agricultural Research. 21(1), pp.73–79. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v21i1.2588
Published on 17 Dec 2010.
Peer Reviewed

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