Escaping the COVID-19 Pandemic with High-Speed E-Learning: Capabilities, Engagement, and Quality in Malaysian Higher Education

© Media Watch |12 (3) 363-381, 2021
ISSN 0976-0911 | E-ISSN 2249-8818
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2021/v12i3/165222


Escaping the COVID-19 Pandemic with High-Speed E-Learning: Capabilities, Engagement, and Quality in Malaysian Higher Education


Sidra Shehzadi1, Syed Hassan Raza2, & Umer Zaman3
1Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
2Bahauddin Zakariya University, Pakistan
3Woosong University, South Korea



Despite growing optimism, the COVID-19 pandemic has overstayed with its new ‘delta variant’ sweeping across continents. Consequently, higher education institutions across the globe have strategically switched to e-learning platforms to escape the massive uncertainties triggered by the ongoing global pandemic. Hence, the attraction and engagement of millions of new e-learners towards technology-enabled virtual learning environments are highly dependent on critical factors such as quality of e-service, e-information, and e-system, etc., for e-learning success. To address these emerging challenges and to bridge the research gap, the present study empirically explored the effects of e-learning communication networks, including the quality of e-service, e-information, and e-system, on e-learning in Malaysian Higher Education. Notably, the mediating mechanism of e-learner’s engagement in the processual and holistic model of e-learning quality was also examined. Drawing on study data of 450 e-learners and utilizing structural equational modeling (SEM), the findings established that e-learning quality is significantly influenced by e-service quality, e-system quality, and e-information quality, as mediated through e-learner’s engagement. The study implications include new empirical evidence on boosting e-learning quality during the pandemic-induced global education crisis and identifying the critical drivers of communication technologies in higher education (i.e., quality of e-service, e-information, and e-system) to better interpret the changing ingredients of e-learner’s engagement.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, e-information quality, e-system quality, e-service quality, e-learning quality, and student’s e-learning engagement




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Sidra Shehzadi is a Ph.D. candidate in communication studies from the School of Multimedia Technology and Communication, Universiti Utara Malaysia. Her research focuses on marketing communication, corporate communication, public relations, and advertising. 

Syed Hassan Raza (Ph.D., Universiti Utara Malaysia, 2018) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Bahauddin Zakariya University, Pakistan. He remained part of the GLOBE cross-cultural project as Country Co-Investigator. His research centers on advertising, marketing communication, health communication, cross-cultural communication, new media, and journalism. 

Umer Zaman (Ph.D., Foundation University, 2016) is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the Endicott College of International Studies, Woosong University, Daejeon, Republic of Korea. Dr. Zaman’s interdisciplinary research interests are project management, strategic management, strategic HR, tourism management, and marketing.


Corresponding author: Umer Zaman, Endicott College of International Studies, Woosong University, Daejeon, 34606, South Korea.