Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Performance-Oriented Approach to E-Learning in the Workplace

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Performance-Oriented Approach to E-Learning in the Workplace

Article excerpt

Introduction

E-learning refers to the use of computer network technology, primarily via the Internet, to deliver information and instructions to individuals. Due to its access flexibility and just-in-time delivery, e-learning is emerging as a popular approach for learning in organizations or workplace settings (Rosenberg, 2006; Sambrook, 2003). Despite the everincreasing practice of using e-learning in the workplace, most of the applications perform poorly in motivating employees to learn. Significant gaps exist between corporate interests and learner needs when it comes to e-learning (Brink et al., 2002; Servage, 2005). For individuals, although knowledge can be learned by participating in e-learning programs, more often they do not think e-learning is helpful since the knowledge learned cannot help improve their work performance. For organizations, e-learning is generally designed without meeting the organizational vision and mission. Moreover, current e-learning development tends to focus on technical issues of design and ignores pedagogical and organizational issues that are necessary for effective e-learning programs to address (Tynjala & Hakkinen, 2005). The dominance of technology-oriented approaches has made e-learning practices less goaleffective, and they are therefore perceived to be poor in quality and design. On further review of the root of the problem, it seems that much of e-learning research is based on formal courses in educational institutions. However, corporations as learning arenas are different from schools. Workplace learning is built on practical tasks and work situations with the aim to serve organizational goals. Learning in the work environment takes place in the context of use and application, and as a result is often embedded in work practices. Moreover, learning is more collaborative in workplace settings, where sharing individual knowledge with co-workers is an important part of the learning practice.

The aforementioned problem highlights the need to design learning activities that address corporate interests, individual needs, and work context. The development of workplace e-learning should consider the alignment of individual and organizational learning needs, the connection between learning and work performance, and communication among individuals (Wang, in press). To solve the problem, a performance-oriented approach is presented in this study. A set of key performance indicators (KPIs) has been set up to represent a set of measures focusing on the aspects of organizational and individual performance that are critical for the success of the organization (Ran & Wang, 2008; Ran et al., 2008). The KPI framework provides a clear picture for everyone in the organization of what is important and what they need to do and learn. The mechanism of the approach is explored and elaborated with conceptual frameworks and implementation details. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach, a prototype of a workplace e-learning system has been developed with relevant experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of the approach.

Theoretical Background

Workplace learning refers to learning or training activities undertaken in the workplace, with the goal of enhancing individual and organizational performance (Rosenberg, 2006). Attention to workplace learning has greatly increased due to the significant role of professional skills and expertise in organization development. Theories specific to workplace learning can be categorized into adult learning, organizational learning, and knowledge management (KM). Adult learning theories form the basis for the design of e-learning practices in work environments. Andragogy (learning strategies focused on adults) and self-directed learning are two fundamental parts of adult learning. The implication of adult learning theory in the workplace context is that learners would be motivated once learning objectives have been rationally set that would meet their needs (Knowles et al. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.