Industry integration of e-learning: guidelines for supporting learners using e-learning in workplaces

26 Feb 2009

These guidelines provide practical models for businesses and their training partners to provide effective support for learners using e-learning in workplaces.

Data has come from businesses that have received funding support under the national training system?s e-learning strategy, the Australian Flexible Learning Framework to implement e-learning initiatives in industry.

These businesses use a wide range of strategies to provide support to learners using e-learning in the workplace. The strategies are used at all stages of the e-learning process, including before, during and after the training program. They include strategies for recruiting learners, checking readiness, providing induction and orientation, supporting learners through courseware features, providing direct personal support and providing follow up to apply and extend their learning beyond the training. The most common form of delivery is self-paced e-learning using a learning management system (LMS), although a large majority of these programs include significant personal support from a range of sources in the workplace, including coaches, managers, e-learning leaders and IT help staff, as well as trainers and colleagues.

Up to half of the businesses using e-learning now complement the supported selfpaced approach with options for facilitated learning in groups, both online and face-toface. The main business and instructional reasons for using facilitation are understood and applied to design decisions. The emerging blended learning approach is being supported by a growing use of collaboration tools, and webconferencing in particular.

Facilitation and collaboration adds another level of motivation and support for learners and expands the range of learning outcomes which e-learning can achieve. The description and quantification of these learner support practices through this research has informed three working models. The purpose of the models is to assist businesses and their training partners with three areas of decision-making involved with planning support for e-learners:

- relating support strategies to business impact (outcomes and added value)
- deciding when to use facilitated e-learning
- selecting from the available strategies for a particular e-learning solution.

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