Empathic technologies for distance/mobile learning

Pedro Isaias (Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation (ITaLI), University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)
Francisco Reis (Tapalife.com, Lisbon, Portugal)
Clara Coutinho (Institute of Education, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal)
Jose Alberto Lencastre (Institute of Education, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 19 June 2017



This paper examines the acceptance, of a group of 79 students, of an educational forum, used for mobile and distance learning, that has been modified to include empathic characteristics and affective principles.


With this study is proposed that the introduction of empathic and affective principles in educational forums is a useful and effective way to increase students’ participation and motivation in educational contexts. After an analysis of existing literature and research on the subject of empathic technology, the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) was used as a framework for the research model. The analysis of their acceptance is done via an extended version of the UTAUT that focuses on the use of the variable attitude toward technology and uses gender, age and experience as moderators. A partial least square technique has been used to test the nine hypotheses.


The results confirmed three of the nine hypotheses: performance expectancy and effort expectancy had a positive influence on the students attitudes towards empathic forums, while the effect of social influence and facilitating conditions was considered insignificant; social influence had a positive influence on the students’ behavioral intention to use emphatic forums, while attitude toward technology, performance expectancy, facilitating conditions and effort expectancy were considered not relevant.


The focus of this study was the influence of attitude toward empathic forums, used for mobile and distance learning, and the results establish the grounds for future research on attitude as an important determinant of technology acceptance.



Isaias, P., Reis, F., Coutinho, C. and Lencastre, J. (2017), "Empathic technologies for distance/mobile learning", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 159-180. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITSE-02-2017-0014

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