Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

An Assessment of E-Training Effectiveness in Multinational Companies in Malaysia

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

An Assessment of E-Training Effectiveness in Multinational Companies in Malaysia

Article excerpt

Introduction

The advancement of information technologies has contributed to the exponential growth in corporate e-learning (or e-training) in recent years. This revolution enables employees to obtain an intimate learning experience without attending a brick-and-mortar facility. As organizations strive to enhance their competitiveness by constantly promoting continuous learning culture, online training continues to grow in popularity as organizations strive to better meet their immediate and strategic needs for a flexible, well-trained workforce (Kosarzycki et al., 2002).

The development of e-training is indeed not a new phenomenon in Malaysia. Firms in Malaysia have been hopping on to the e-learning bandwagon, hoping to reap benefits from this upcoming trend. However, there are issues and challenges with the implementation of e-learning that need to be avoided or resolved in order to enhance the user satisfaction and e-training effectiveness. Ali (2004) has identified seven issues and challenges in implementation of e-learning in Malaysia. These include lack of awareness amongst population, low adoption rate, bandwidth and connectivity limitations, computer illiteracy, lack of quality e-learning content, difficulty in engaging learners online and language barrier. Limitation in bandwidth and connectivity will affect the response time of the e-learning system among Malaysian organizations (Ali, 2004). Slow response from the e-learning system will create frustration and boredom among users and leads to low satisfaction (Almutairi & Subramanian, 2005).

Hence, careful assessment and evaluation of real organizational learning benefits derived from e-training are required to justify the investment. Some of the important questions to raise are; "Are the employees satisfied with the e- training system provided by the organizations?", and more importantly, "Are they willing to continue pursuing e-training in the future and are the benefits articulated realized?" Understanding of the critical factors that lead to user satisfaction and effective training outcomes are fundamental for organizations to reap the benefits of e-training. The present study therefore endeavors to determine the critical factors that influence e-training effectiveness in organizations.

E-training in organizations

E-training resembles e-learning in many ways especially in terms of the methods of delivery and technology used, except that it refers to much shorter time frame of learning which usually is specifically designed to achieve a certain learning objective or skill. Typical types of e-training are video conferencing and web-based training. These technologies purport to permit delivery of learning which is "new, better, cheaper, and faster" (Bardach, 1997; Taylor, 2002) than traditional classroom methods. For the purpose of this study, e-training refers to any type of training provided in organizations via electronic media which include self-paced learning from Intranet, learning from CD-ROM at work, training provided by instructors live through Webcast, recorded sessions of past webcast trainings available to employees and others.

The benefits of e-learning have been widely discussed including cost-effective, timely content, and access flexibility (Hong, Lai, & Holton, 2003; Lorenzetti, 2005; Rosenberg, 2001). Bouhnik and Marcus (2006) have specifically stated that e-learning has four advantages: (1) freedom to decide when each online lesson will be learned, (2) lack of dependence on the time constraint, (3) freedom to express thoughts and (4) accessibility to the course's online materials.

Despite all the perceived benefits of e-learning, research indicates that a high rate of students who commence e- learning courses do not finish them (Dutton & Perry, 2002). Many are dissatisfied with the e-learning experience. A study by Loh (2007) on e-learning effectiveness in the manufacturing industry in Malaysia found that system quality, information quality, and perceived usefulness influenced e-learning effectiveness positively. …

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