Success Factors for Self-paced Online Learning in Business
Entering the twenty-first century, businesses and organizations are turning to e-learning as a cost effective and efficient means of workplace learning. Self-paced online learning is computer based instruction offered by organizations where students work at their own pace. Variations of support may exist, but students/learners generally work independently. In academia this kind of learning is called distant learning, online learning, or independent studies. In business, is often refers to learning modules, e-learning, or online training. As business turns to this method of learning, employers and instructors will continue to pursue what makes self-paced online learning effective. An examination of recent research shows that successful and positive outcomes with e-learning depend more on factors within the learner, rather than the chosen e-learning tools themselves. Employee motivation, beliefs, and job competency impact the effectiveness of e-learning. While there is a general belief that online learning benefits business as a whole, there appears to be very little known about the outcomes of online training, or what constitutes effective training methods (Dalston & Turner, 2011). Recent dissertation research on self-paced online learning continually points to factors within the workplace learner as factors influential for effective learning experiences. This paper will systematically examine the impact that employee motivation, beliefs, and job competency have on the effectiveness of e-learning in the workplace. Motivation
Employees learn more effectively when motivated. Motivation characterizes the driving force behind the decisions and choices people make. One motivating factor in the process of e-learning in a workplace environment is a basic understanding of task value. If there is ambiguity and lack of information explaining the reason for training, employees are apt to place less value in training. If more information is provided about a training tool, value is added, and with task value, increased motivation. The importance of learning a task or acquiring specific knowledge adds to the level of motivation an individual will have (Artino, 2008). Proper job alignment is another factor that contributes to employee motivation, and subsequently to the effectiveness of e-learning. A lack of job analysis and inadequate attention to performance expectations have been identified as key barriers to the successful facilitation of e-learning (Cheng, Wang, Yang, Kinshuk, & Peng, 2011). If an employee is suffering in their job role because they are not a proper fit for the position, they are likely to be less motivated about the work at hand, and additional training as well. Applications themselves are known to be poor motivators for employees (Minhong, Weijia, Jian, & Yang, 2010). People may be motivated by many things, but a new software package rollout is not likely to be on the top of their list. Minhong, Weijia, Jian, and Yang (2010) explain that although employees might see gains by participating in e-learning, more often they do not think e-learning will contribute to increased work performance. Little faith in the e-learning tool, and a resulting lowered motivation, are believed to make e-learning less effective. Reasons for motivation could include the possibility of a pay increase, learner appreciation for increased knowledge, job security, improved job skills, and increased job efficiency. The effectiveness of e-learning is directly related to learner motivation. Workplace e-learning must be delivered in a way that fosters employee motivation. If an employee has a meaningful reason to learn, the effectiveness of e-learning will increase. Perception
Employees’ perception of technology and their understanding of e-learning tools have an impact on the effectiveness of their...