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Student acceptance of tablet devices in secondary education: A three-wave longitudinal cross-lagged case study


tablet devices secondary education cross-lagged longitudinal research theory of planned behavior pre- and post-adoption

Publication details

Year: 2014
DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.03.017
Issued: 2014
Language: English
Volume: 35
Start Page: 278
End Page: 286
Authors: Courtois C.; Montrieux H.; De Grove F.; Raes A.; De Marez L.; Schellens T.
Type: Journal article
Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Topics: Learning; Social mediation; Literacy and skills
Sample: 352 students (39% boys, 61% girls) from a secondary school in Flanders, Belgium’s Dutch-speaking region with a mean age of 14,36
Implications For Educators About: School innovation
Implications For Policy Makers About: Other
Other PolicyMaker Implication: Opportunities of the use of technology in the classroom
Implications For Stakeholders About: Researchers; Industry


As ICT is increasingly permeating all aspects of everyday life, it is apparent that education cannot leap behind. In this article we longitudinally investigate a much-debated obligatory full-scale implementation of tablet devices in a large secondary school. We adopt a Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) approach to verify the dynamic nature of students' acceptance of the tablet as a learning tool at three waves of data collection, both at pre- and short and long-term post-adoption stages. The results clearly indicate the evolutionary nature of the acceptance process, challenging the adequacy of crosssectional approaches to technology adoption. In the pre-adoption stage, attitude appears as a key uptake factor, whereas three months later, due to practical and technical constraints, the attention shifts to subjective norm and perceived behavioral control. Finally, six months after introduction indicative traces of habituation appear, raising concerns on the suitability of the TPB in established post-adoption circumstances.


"Students have naturally high expectations towards using trendy technology at school, equally it should be considered that especially in early innovation stages, technology tends to fail. Although it is commonly assumed that tablet devices are easy to use, this might be so for entertainment purposes, but not necessarily for educational ends. from teachers and students that the implementation yielded some problems of variable nature. There were technical issues with the application used on the tablets (e.g. crashes, down-time, usability issues). Next to considerable efforts to solve technical issues, the teaching staff took on a more restrictive stance towards these issues, while continuously motivating students to persist. Repeated satisfactory behavior under stable circumstances eventually leads to habit build-up, toning down the effects of attitudes and subjective norm. There is a strong support for the assumption that a positive attitude at a prior instance gives rise to the development of a stronger perception of behavioral control. Students who have a favorable position towards the tablet as a learning tool are more prone to develop their sense of skill. This however equally implies that a negative attitude brings about a relative disengagement with the teaching staff. This research is of interest for academics, important for innovators in education technology and concerns non-academic purposes (i.e. education policy and practitioners)." (Courtois et al., 2014)

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