Elearning's contribution to workforce development

20 Jun 2013

Recent WRC research has found that e-learning can help to integrate training into the workplace, providing benefits for workers, enterprises and industry. Building on research undertaken in 2010 to 2011, case studies were conducted of e-learning projects in three industries funded by the National VET E-learning Strategy Industry System Change business activity in 2012-13: aged care and community services, renewable energy, and glass and glazing manufacturing.

The research explored how e-learning contributes to the uptake of workplace training and skills growth, as well as broader impacts on of e-learning on productivity. The findings also identify key supports and design features required for effective e-learning, and updates the matrix developed in previous research. The matrix identifies factors that either hinder workplace training or that e-learning can enhance.

Key messages are as follows.

  • E-learning can promote flexibility in delivery, currency of training, and connection to the workplace.
  • However, deep learning requires an investment of additional resources, particularly for learning design and support.
  • E-learning has significant opportunities in the future due to expanding internet access and use of mobile technologies, especially for workers such as tradespeople who are not desk-based.

Anecdotal evidence identified the following effects on productivity in workplaces utilising e-learning.

  • Less disruption of work schedules in the delivery of e-learning.
  • Deeper learner outcomes and application of learning, with a consequent reduction of mistakes and injuries across the sectors studied.
  • Broader diffusion of learning and a learning culture.
  • Faster integration of new technology into work processes.

Research findings and reports are available on the National VET E-learning Strategy website.

This research was presented in April at the 2013 AVETRA conference, and will be presented in July at the 2013 No Frills Conference.