An electronic learning (e-learning) readiness model for distance education in the workplace
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This research thesis is about developing an electronic-learning readiness (e-readiness) model for the training of employees in distance education. The overall purpose of the model is to improve current computer-facilitated educational practices in the workplace by enabling e-Iearning practitioners to plan better for the e-Iearning event. There are various definitions of e-readiness, like the ones mentioned by Budhiraja and Sachdeva (2005:4) and the APEC Readiness Initiative (2005:1), most of which refer to readiness in the larger sense, namely of countries' readiness for electronic media use. The context in which the concept of e-readiness is used in this research is similar to the definition cited by Online Reporting Specialists (2005), namely "The state or quality of being ready for electronic learning such as the internet." The context in which it is used is geographically smaller and in line with Hill and Raven's (2000) description, namely it is not limited to physical readiness alone but also includes the non-physical readiness of a business or organisation, e.g. mental readiness as well as organisational cultural readiness. The literature research explores the inherent characteristics of distance education, Constructivist learning and the use of electronic media for distance education. From the literature research, generic aspects that can influence the readiness for electronic learning in distance education in a workplace are identified and integrated into an initial workplace e-readiness concept model. The concepts underlying the newly constructed e-readiness model are verified through a quantitative research process, changed according to the findings and further refined. An e-readiness audit model (evidence required for compliance) is designed through a qualitative research process. The final model is tested in the workplace by using a combined qualitative and quantitative research process and the results reported. In conclusion a workable e-readiness model has been developed to be used as point of departure for any vocational educationist when planning, diagnosing problems of or evaluating an e-Iearning event. Important recommendations as regards further research are made in respect of the application of the model to relevant fields of study: - A South African e-Iearning specialist group should be considered to determine the e-readiness requirements and particularly to focus on e-Iearning habits and needs in the South African context. - Further research needs to be done to determine which requirements are appropriate to the various e-Iearning delivery systems. - Further research can determine if any criterion of the e-readiness model is more important than others. - The study needs to be extended to other more diverse workplaces. - More research needs to be done to determine the needs and requirements of e-readiness of each unique group as an entity within a larger diverse group. - Further research should consider language barriers by translating questionnaires into the respondents' home language. - Explanation of computer terminology before the questionnaire is completed is advisable as not all respondents may be familiar with the concepts. - Further refinement of the audit instrument as well as questionnaires can be done through further research.
- Education