As opposed to the computer-based training of the 1980s, the term e-learning is most frequently used to refer to computer-based training which incorporates technologies that support interactivity beyond what would be provided by a single personal computer. E-learning, therefore, is an approach to facilitate and enhance learning through both computer and communication technologies. Such devices can include personal computers, CD-ROM, digital television, PDA, and mobile phones. Communication technologies enable the use of the Internet, e-mail, discussion forums, collaborative software, classroom management software, and team learning systems.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Institutional Proximity: Provides economic actors/organizations with initial advantages or disadvantages for particular types of activity; it turns dynamic when the capabilities of organizations and their performance co-evolve and feed back onto one another. Successful firms and organizations are those which can best adapt their activities to the institutional environment within which they are embedded. Once a number of organizations in a particular sector are successful, however, they may be able to engage in collective action to modify their institutional setting in order to enhance their innovativeness and competitiveness.
Regional Development: Development is by definition a process by which a societal problem is to be solved by implementing a systematic and well-defined change process. Regional development activities are always aimed at addressing regional problems and issues through development interventions which are best carried out at the regional level. It focuses on good practice in the support and promotion of wealth as part of an integrated geographical approach, expressed at a regional scale involving regional actors.
Learning Region: The physical expression of the understanding that economic growth is dependent on territorial innovation and that this is dependent on the creation, application, and dissemination of knowledge. The concept emphasizes the role played by cooperation and interactive learning in regional networks and should be looked upon as a policy framework or model for formulations of regional development strategies.
E-Learning: Learning supported through the use of information and communication technologies, which can cover a spectrum of activities from IT supported (CD-ROM, video conferencing, Web sites, and e-mail) to learning that is entirely online. Typically, it involves some form of interactivity and is widely used in distanc e-learning programs.
Knowledge Management: The process of managing and leveraging the stores of knowledge in an organization, which is based on transforming information and intellectual assets into enduring value. It promotes a collaborative and integrative approach to the creation, capture, access, and use of information assets, including tacit and informal knowledge. This systemic approach is broadly viewed as either sustainable competitive advantage or long-term high performance.
Small Firms: Normally based on independent businesses, managed by their owners or part-owners and having a small market share. They are small in relation to a sector where the market is large and facing many competitors. It may be more appropriate to define size by the number of employees in some sectors but more appropriate to use turnover in others. In certain cases, smaller firms are considered to be those employing less then 100 employees and, in others, less than 50. Their strategies depend frequently more upon manager’s decision than upon competitive choices. In general, they are reluctant in taking risk.
Collective Learning: The process through which different actors develop a collective mind which concerns how they use their own network and interactions as culture-based contextual conditions for everyday learning processes including opportunities to use their concrete experiences, knowledge, and skills. It involves horizontally based cooperation between different actors in a local or organizational setting or the mobilization of resources in a broader context as such to initiate a learning-based process of innovation and change.