Challenges of E-learning Programs

The concept of e-learning is extensively used in today’s generation. E-learning, as Rosenberg defined it, is the use of Internet technologies to create and deliver a rich learning environment that includes a broad array of instruction and information resources and solutions, the goal of which is to enhance individual and organizational performance. Note that e-learning makes use of Internet technologies which means that e-learning is not merely limited to learning via online communities of thru the Internet. E-learning is also enabled by intranets and other electronic networks and can be in the form of off-the-shelf presentation programs such as the Microsoft PowerPoint software.

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However, despite the good purpose of e-learning programs, it is often too difficult to implement a successful e-learning program. During the dot-com boom, the emergence of the e-learning concept appeared to have a grand promise to the market and countless sources attempt to show its numerous advantages. However, for several reasons that remain not well-defined until today, optimistic market forecasts for the success of e-learning did not happen. It even failed to fully penetrate the corporate world. Generally, the success of a group-based organizational learning approach that is enhanced by technology is dependent on various factors. First, it works in a globalized environment where the producers of mostly from Western cultures and the consumers are from the East. Because of such, there is a clash of cultures and even differences in terms of languages and semiotics. In our proposed e-learning project, one of the most difficult challenges is to design an online cooking program that would be very easy to comprehend and easy to follow. Although we have a target market, as much as possible we would like to extend our product to other consumers regardless of their location, culture, and language. Another challenge in the design of the proposed learning program is that we also have to take into account the level of technological knowledge and skills of our target users. While we forecast that most of our users are computer-literate, it would not be ideal to generalize that they have the same level of competencies when it comes to technology. Thus, we have to adopt a technology that is user-friendly and we had to set our estimates regarding the level of technological knowledge and skills of our users to that of an average computer user who knows the basics of using a computer and the Internet.

Watch this video of PWC on the Challenges of implementing an eLearning program.

 

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Generally, the success of a group-based organizational learning approach that is enhanced by technology is dependent on various factors. First, it works in a globalized environment where the producers of mostly from Western cultures and the consumers are from the East. Because of such, there is a clash of cultures and even differences in terms of languages and semiotics. In our proposed e-learning project, one of the most difficult challenges is to design an online cooking program that would be very easy to comprehend and easy to follow. Although we have a target market, as much as possible we would like to extend our product to other consumers regardless of their location, culture, and language. Another challenge in the design of the proposed learning program is that we also have to take into account the level of technological knowledge and skills of our target users. While we forecast that most of our users are computer-literate, it would not be ideal to generalize that they have the same level of competencies when it comes to technology. Thus, we have to adopt a technology that is user-friendly and we had to set our estimates regarding the level of technological knowledge and skills of our users to that of an average computer user who knows the basics of using a computer and the Internet.

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A dilemma could be encountered as a portion of the target market may be knowledgeable when it comes to understanding food ingredients and the cooking procedures.  However, they may not be technology-savvy.  The latter will make it challenging for them to follow online instructions, communicate online with the other users of the product, and even set-up the online cooking program.  On the other hand, some may be experts in technology but may not fully understand the procedures due to lack of cooking knowledge, skills, or experience.  Given these, the program will be designed in such a way that it will minimize the problems of the users when it comes to understanding the materials.

In the online cooking program, it was specified that the target market would be staff members of an organization that is engaged in the business of food service. Despite being employed in one organization or industry, their characteristics as individuals remain different.   A staff’s level of computer literacy may not be the same relative to that of his co-workers. Thus, the effectiveness of the online cooking program may yield different learning outcomes for each individual. Thus, we cannot expect every person to gain the same level of knowledge and skills from the program alone.  Some individuals may also find it more effective to attend an actual cooking demonstration. Because learning preferences and familiarity to learning resources differ, the results of the program could also vary.

Aside from differences in learning preferences and level of technological literacy, the online cooking program may also fail to yield to perfect learning objectives given the different level of responsiveness of the participants. Individuals respond to situations differently in such a way that even in actual classes where professors and students are physically present, their behaviors are still not the same. Some participate actively and thus impart what they know to other people in the class, contributing to overall learning. However, some prefer not to participate and even tend to be shy in asking questions thus failing to learn in the long-run. In the online program, the same problem can be expected. Not all staffs may participate equally thus, some may not meet their learning objectives.

A policy which required the commitment to the workforce is necessary for encouraging the members of the organization to become committed to the objectives of the group. Such policy should be based on the standard of reciprocity. As supported by the words of BP CEO John Brown, a sustainable business organization should not be likened to a bazaar activity in which two organizations attempt to get the best of each other or impose substantial risks on each other. Rather, they should do something together that will make them bigger and gain an advantage. Such statement can be applied to the relationships existing between the members of one organization. In other words, the organization and its members should share an interdependent relationship in which one will only be able to achieve their objectives through the help of another. While factors such as loyalty and leadership are necessary components of a successful organization, an interdependence that brings commitment seems more essential and applicable in the case of the e-learning program. Commitment to the workforce can be presented in incentives such as employment security, education and training opportunities (such as the e-learning program), and profit-sharing. In the online e-learning program, the staff members of a food-services organization can become empowered and trained which could encourage them to become committed to their work. When they are deprived of valuable information such as those that can be derived from e-learning programs that are related to their work responsibilities, they will most likely feel demoralized and find it difficult to retain their commitment to the organization. Thus, there appears to be an interdependent relationship between organizational learning and organizational commitment. In other words, the workforce will become committed given educational opportunities. In turn, these learning incentives will also provide an advantage to the organization as its workforce is more equipped with relevant work knowledge and skills. Because of the incentives, the staff will tend to become more attached and committed to the organization which provided them with the opportunities.

Virtual teamwork is also important to the organization that intends to adopt e-learning programs. The success of online collaborative classrooms is dependent on the willingness of its users to share their knowledge and experiences to one another. In the case of the online cooking program, more recipes can be developed when the staff members are more participative. On the other hand, the chefs should encourage maximum participation and cooperation among its staff members. Maintaining teamwork in a virtual environment or online collaborative classroom can be equally or even more challenging than maintaining teamwork in a campus-based class since it would be difficult to decipher whether or not the participants in the online classroom are actually doing their share.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Samantha Rachel Barrett says:

    I think that these eLearning tips will allow you to circumvent the pitfalls of eLearning design and development so that you can move forward on the path to eLearning success.

    Like

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