The Politics of E-Learning: A Theoretical Model

The Politics of E-Learning: A Theoretical Model

Celia Romm Livermore (Department of Information Systems and Manufacturing, School of Business Administration, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA), Mahesh Raisinghani (School of Management, Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX, USA) and Pierluigi Rippa (Department of Business and Managerial Engineering, University of Napoli Federico II, Napoli, Italy)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/ijep.2014040104
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Abstract

The goal of this research was to study the political strategies utilized in the context of E-Learning. The research is based on the E-Learning Political Strategies (ELPoS) model. The model is based on two dimensions: (1) the direction of the political strategy (upward or downward) and (2) the scope of the political strategy (individual or group based). The model assumes that the interaction between these dimensions will define four different types of E-Learning political strategies, which, in turn, will lead to different outcomes. The model is presented in the context of the literature on E-Learning and is accompanied with four short case studies that demonstrate its political strategies. The discussion and conclusions section integrates the findings from the case studies and outlines the rules that govern the utilization of political E-Learning strategies in different organizational contexts.
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The Definion Of E-Learning

An important area of contemplation in the literature on E-Learning focuses on the definition of this process. Cross (2004) is considered the person who coined the term E-Learning. Since then, a range of definitions have been offered by other researchers. The first type of definitions focuses on the fact that E-Learning is based on the Internet. For example, Rossett (2001) defined E-Learning as: “Web-based training (WBT)”, Adrich (2004) defined E-Learning as: “a broad combination of processes, content, and infrastructure to use computers and networks to scale and/or improve one or more significant parts of a learning value chain, including management and delivery”, and Rosenberg (2001) defined E-Learning as: “the use of internet technologies to deliver a broad array of solutions that enhance knowledge and performance.

Other, much broader definitions of the term E-Learning, expanded it beyond the use of the Internet to include just about any type of interaction or experience that can take place in educational or other types of organizations. For example, Manville (2003) defined E-Learning as: “Not only Internet-published courseware, but also the tools for managing, modularizing and handling: different kinds of content and learning objects (including both electronic and non-electronic forms, and even traditional classroom instruction), just-in-time and asynchronous learning, such as virtual labs, virtual classrooms and collaborative work spaces, simulations, document repositories and publishing programs, tools for prescribing learning, managing development pathways and goals and handling e-commerce and financial transactions related to learning, and the utilities and capabilities for supporting informal learning, mentoring, communities of practice and other non-training interventions”. In other words, according to this definition, E-Learning can encompass almost everything that happens in the corporate world.

Other definitions of E-Learning seem to go even further. For example, Jeurissen (quoted by Moeng, 2004) defined E-Learning as: “the use of innovative technologies and learning models to transform the way individuals and organizations acquire new skills and access knowledge”, while Drucker (2000) defined E-Learning as: “Just-in-time education that integrates high velocity value chains”.

We in this paper define E-Learning as both electronically based and related to teaching and learning. However, this does not mean that we restrict E-Learning to activities that occur in a classroom (including an on-line classroom) or that we consider E-Learning a process that takes place during the delivery of content. Quite the contrary, our definition encompasses activities that may take place outside a classroom (on-line or otherwise) and that may involve students, instructors, and administrators, within an organization that engages in teaching and learning (such as a university).

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