An Integrative View of Knowledge Sharing Impact on E-Learning Quality: A Model for Higher Education Institutes

An Integrative View of Knowledge Sharing Impact on E-Learning Quality: A Model for Higher Education Institutes

Babak Sohrabi (University of Tehran, Iran), Iman Raeesi Vanani (University of Tehran, Iran), Davood Qorbani (University of Tehran, Iran) and Peter Forte (ESCEM School of Business and Management, Poitiers, France)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/jeis.2012040102
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The era in which learning was limited to a special class of people has long since reached its end. Rapid changes in information technology, which affect all aspects of modern life, make continuous learning an inevitable requirement of prosperity and development. Knowledge sharing plays a significant role in the process of learning. E-learning is the latest process of knowledge sharing in which people intentionally share what they have learned and receive the latest knowledge from the provider of e-learning. In this regard, knowledge sharing has a major impact on e-learning quality as the sharing of knowledge comprises the core process of e-learning. In this paper, the authors propose utilizing influential knowledge sharing indicators for e-learning quality assessment that can provide an informative basis for further studies on quality measurement of e-learning processes.
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Literature Review

No single agreed definition of e-learning can be found among scholars (Allen & Seaman, 2007; An et al., 2009; Chen, 2008; Lee & Lee, 2008; Mitchell & Honore, 2007; Singh et al., 2004; Smith & Kurthen, 2007; Taran, 2006; Vernadakis et al., 2011), but “it generally refers to internet based forms of learning, rather than face to face interaction and where traditional methods of learning are supported by online resources” (McKenzie & Murray, 2010, p. 17). Nowadays online instruction is widely adopted in universities (Huang et al., 2011) and in many institutions (Chen, 2008) which want to keep their staff up to date, mainly because of the rapid increase in internet use (Chen, 2008; Huang et al., 2011).

The notion of e-learning is not new; during the past decade many advantages have been identified and documented by different researchers. According to McKenzie and Murray (2010) there are various reasons for using e-learning, including anonymity. They argue that since people have the opportunity to withhold their real names in online communication, “this nature of the technology used in e-learning may actually facilitate the identity shift that underpins learning” (p. 18). This finding seems to be reasonable, especially given that certain subjects are taboo in some societies or forbidden by some governments. E-learning increases motivation by allowing instructors to communicate information in a more engaging fashion (Wang, 2003) and by exploiting technology and personalizing information (Mohammadi et al., 2011). It also fosters self-paced learning whereby students can learn at their own speed (Mohammadi et al., 2011; Wang, 2003; Zhang et al., 2004). Table 1 reviews the advantages of e-learning.

Table 1.
Advantages of e-learning
Advantages of e-Learning Roffe (2002) Wang (2003) Zhang et al. (2004) Mitchell & Honore (2007) Chen (2008) McKenzie & Murray (2010) Mohammadi et al. (2011)
Archival capability for knowledge reuse and sharing
Different learning styles
Dynamic (content updated easily / rapidly)
Flexibility (of time and location)
Interaction (fosters interaction among students and instructors)
Just-in-time / fast
(Develops) knowledge of the internet
Learning/understanding (increased and comprehensive)
Measurement of program performance
Motivation (increased)
Opportunity to learn more than one major or specialty
Potentially available to global audience
Provide opportunities for more introverted student to engage more in learning
Responsibility (encourages students to take responsibility)
Retention (higher retention / recall of information)
Scalable structure
Seat time (reduced seat time /contact hours)
(Fosters) self-paced learning
Uniformity of content
Unlimited access to knowledge

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