E-Learning for Knowledge Dissemination

E-Learning for Knowledge Dissemination

Shyamala C. Sivakumar (Saint Mary’s University, Canada)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-931-1.ch024


Today, most organizations need to extend lifelong learning opportunities to their employees in order to be successful in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. Organizations are turning to technological solutions to enable online in-house training and learning for their employees. An integrated approach to e-learning is important because it can be effectively used to analyze employee performance and also to gather information for continuous online and real-time learning of organizational goals to better tailor the educational product and its content. Online learning is made possible by advancements in network infrastructure and the development of voice and multimedia protocols for the seamless transport of information. E-learning involves encouraging the employee to spend time electronically to bring about learning, and to collect information and analyze it with respect to organizational needs, learning processes, and user preferences (Alavi & Leidner, 1999). E-learning ranges from simple computer use in a classroom where instructional materials are stored on a local-area network, to the use of simulation systems used to support teaching activities, or to distance education using broadband-enabled multimedia and shared electronic work spaces. E-learning styles include learner-centric, instructor-centric, and directed environments. E-learning communication modes include synchronous vs. asynchronous modes (time of interaction), and one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many interaction modes. Presentation styles include voice only, voice and video, text only, text and animation, and voice, video, and text. Pedagogical approaches include objectivist, constructivist, and collaborative approaches and situated learning. Also, it is known that learning within organizations is affected by task complexity and the organizational environment (Argyris & Schon, 1996; Bhatt, 2002; Spender, 1996).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Electronic-Learning: Defined as a virtual environment in which the learner's interactions with learning materials including readings, laboratories, software, assignments, exercises, peers, and instructors is mediated through the Internet or intranets. E-learning includes the use of simulation systems used to support teaching activities and distance education supported by broadband multi-media communication and shared electronic workspaces.

Tacit Knowledge: Defined as personal, context-specific knowledge. It is knowledge acquired by experience and practice. It is therefore difficult to formally state/codify such knowledge and communicate it.

Explicit Knowledge: Defined as context-free knowledge that can be codified using formal and systematic language. Explicit knowledge can be expressed using words (language) or as mathematical formulae, procedures or principles. Explicit knowledge is easy to codify and communicate.

Synchronous Systems: Require the simultaneous participation of students with faculty in real-time i.e., modeling a “virtual classroom”. It involves the use of live chat, white boards and video/audio conferencing.

Community Of Practice: An informal community of people bound by a common task or purpose (e.g., similar work activities). A CoP nurtures a critical skill set in an organization. A CoP can exist across company divisions and sometimes across organizational boundaries.

Asynchronous Systems: Allows students to participate at a time and place convenient to them. In asynchronous systems interaction between the student and the faculty takes place intermittently through e-mail, HTML content, news or discussion groups. The interaction does not require participation at the same time.

Community of Experts: A collection of people who possess very high knowledge (expertise) in a particular field. They are subject matter experts and within an organization provide intellectual leadership. A CoE can exist across company divisions and across organizational boundaries.

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