e-learning in the workplace: An annotated bibliography Publications
This report gives an overview of the literature relating to e-learning in workplaces in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Author(s): Peter Guiney, Tertiary Sector Performance Analysis, Ministry of Education.
Date Published: February 2015
The key findings of this annotated bibliography are:
- E-learning can provide flexible learning options for employees and allow them to upskill more rapidly. E-learning in the workplace can decrease the costs of upskilling a workforce through reducing travel and employee time away from work. E-learning is particularly useful for a geographically-dispersed workforce because it can deliver a consistent training experience.
- The uptake of e-learning in the workplace is increasing. Many New Zealand firms have the systems and infrastructure to support e-learning, but often lack the capability to implement it successfully. To overcome design inadequacies in e-learning courses, new skills and personnel are required in the teams charged with developing and delivering it.
- Firms need to have strategies and plans in place to support their e-learning which integrate or align with their overall plans and strategies. Support by managers for e-learning in the workplace (including allocating sufficient time for it) is critical to success.
- Large organisations are more likely to adopt e-learning than small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) because they have better infrastructure and systems and can more readily achieve economies of scale and return on investment. SMEs can form collaborative networks to share knowledge, resources, and expertise to overcome the cost and relevance barriers they face when implementing e-learning.
- E-learning is most often used in workplaces to supplement traditional delivery (blended learning). Blended learning can contribute to significant gains in learner achievement.
- The focus in workplace e-learning has moved from 'courses' to learning content that is available to employees as and when needed. E-learning is more effective when people can access it in small 'chunks', reflect on it, and then apply it immediately.
- E-learning supports informal learning in the workplace because it makes it easier to codify information and knowledge and make this available to the organisation and its external stakeholders.
- The most common technologies and systems used to support workplace e-learning are learning management systems, video, mobile devices, social networking tools, wikis, weblogs, simulations/virtual reality, CD-ROMs, and DVDs.
- Some of the main barriers to implementing e-learning in the workplace are:
- high up-front costs that include new and/or upgraded systems, training the trainers, and developing interactive and/or personalised content
- employee resistance to e-learning
- organisations not having an appropriate learning culture in place
- lack of management support
- adopting technologies and systems that are difficult to use and access, are unreliable, and/or lack technical support
- employees and trainers lacking the skills and capabilities to teach and learn in e-learning environments
- irrelevance to real-time work tasks and not integrated with business processes.