A Hybrid Analysis of E-Learning Types and Knowledge Sharing Measurement Indicators: A Model for E-Learning Environments

A Hybrid Analysis of E-Learning Types and Knowledge Sharing Measurement Indicators: A Model for E-Learning Environments

Davood Qorbani, Iman Raeesi Vanani, Babak Sohrabi, Peter Forte
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9562-7.ch021
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E-learning as a method of effective transference of knowledge is being widely used. This chapter introduces a conceptual model that shows administrators/directors of e-learning environments how to recognize and utilize different sets of knowledge sharing indicators (a combination of individual, social, organizational, and technical indicators) to enhance the quality of learning in e-learning environments. A model in which different types of e-learning can be employed is introduced and elaborated. Then, several knowledge-sharing indicators that have the potential of facilitating and enhancing the e-learning environment are presented. Finally, the conceptual model of knowledge sharing indicators to facilitate different types of e-learning environments is provided and discussed.
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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 also 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).

Advantages of E-Learning

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 & 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 by author
Advantages of e-learning Roffe (2002) Wang (2003) Zhang et al. (2004) Mitchell & Honore (2007) Chen (2008) McKenzie & Murray (2010) Huang et al.(2011) 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 & 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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