E-Learning for SMEs: Challenges, Potential and Impact

E-Learning for SMEs: Challenges, Potential and Impact

Asbjorn Rolstadas (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway), Bjorn Andersen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway) and Manuel Fradinho (Cyntelix, the Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-880-3.ch004
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Abstract

SMEs have a special need to be able to collect knowhow from the global community and implement this as competence in the enterprise. E-Learning is an approach for competence development that can assist SMEs in creating a learning organization. There are different approaches to E-Learning. Amongst the most powerful ones is the application of serious games. The PRIME project conducted experiments with serious games in project business and in manufacturing. This has resulted in a set of guidelines for successful implementation of games in an organization. It is necessary to allow a learning curve and put emphasis on the social context to obtain effective learning. For delivery of E-Learning the hybrid learning model is recommended. SMEs are advised to develop E-Learning in cooperation with academic institutions, and to use real life cases and problems for assignments. Delivery should be based on proven technology when used in SMEs.
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E-Learning Background

There exists a number of questionnaire-based evaluation approaches for E-Learning (Sage, 2002, U.S.I.G., 2003, Carliner, 2002, Hughes, 2003). They indicate four essential areas for evaluation (Schwesig, Rolstadås, and Thoben, 2005):

  • E-Learning content - the preparation and the selection of content

  • E-Learning approach - the instructional approach of the E-Learning course

  • E-Learning delivery mechanism - the actual design of the learning environment

  • Overall assessment- general questions, strengths and weaknesses, suggestions for improvement for the course

In this context, we will focus on E-Learning approach and delivery mechanisms.

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