Successful E-learning in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

By Morten Flate Paulsen, [mfp@nki.no]
The Norwegian School of Information Technology,
NITH, P. O. Box 111, N-1319 Bekkestua, Norway [http://www.nith.no]

Abstract

So far, e-learning has primarily been used when there are many learners involved. The up-front investments related to e-learning are relatively high, and may be perceived as prohibitive for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Some e-learning is, however, getting less expensive, and some e-learning models are more suited for small-scale training than others. Therefore, this article presents some e-learning experiences derived from case studies of eighteen enterprises in eight European countries. The case studies represent small, medium-sized and large enterprises as well as e-learning providers. The analysis suggests that SMEs could use e-learning successfully based on three different types of courses: Generic courses, sector courses and internal courses. The small enterprises have so few employees that they are most likely to enrol individual students in generic courses. The medium-sized enterprises may also benefit from more specialized sector courses offered through a branch association or in cooperation with suppliers or chains. Large enterprises may have enough resources to develop e-learning courses internally. The e-learning providers are SMEs that may be especially interesting as examples of how other enterprises may use e-learning in the future. The article concludes with a number of success factors and advantages with e-learning in SMEs.

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Tags

e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, ICT, information and communication technology, internet, collaborative learning, learning management system, MOOC, interaction, LMS,

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