University of Twente Student Theses


Training clients using e-learning : developing an e-learning model for an international software vendor

Poortema, Anne (2009) Training clients using e-learning : developing an e-learning model for an international software vendor.

[img] PDF
Abstract:The company considered in this report develops and sells software products in a niche market. Target customers are the top financial institutions worldwide. Because clients are based all over the world, it is not easy to provide the clients with training. The company wants to investigate whether e-learning could replace or extend their current training portfolio. This study started with a literature review on e-learning, its history, characteristics and applications. E-learning started as a means for universities to educate people living abroad. Later on commercial institutions also started to offer e-learning courses. The main advantages are lower travel costs for trainees and planning flexibility for clients. Typically, the teaching facility has to invest more time and effort in course materials and does not always receive financial benefits in comparison to classroom based training. In literature, three models of e-learning are used frequently. The first is a self-paced course, in which there is very limited or no contact between trainer and trainee, giving the trainee maximum flexibility in picking time and place for studying. The second model uses interactive online sessions, in which trainers can explain issues and trainees can ask questions. Between the sessions some homework assignments can be provided. The third model is a hybrid form of the previous models. The course starts with one online meeting, in which all participants meet and the trainer can give instruction about the structure and contents of the course. After this first meeting, each trainee can decide on his or her own study-planning and can contact trainers if needed. To determine what exactly the demand of trainees is, it was intended to set up interviews with trainees of the company. Unfortunately this was made impossible due to the financial crisis of 2008. As a result, only a very limited number of interviews were conducted. These interviews did however provide some important insights. It appeared that travelling costs is not the largest barrier for client to send their employees to training, but planning training time is. It appeared that a lot of trainees have to be available for emergencies; it happened before that trainees were at the training facility but had to spend most of the time on the phone with colleagues. The second important result is that personal contact and interactivity would be highly valued by trainees. The subject matter is hard to master alone and guidance from a trainer is important. The recommended structure of an e-learning project is based in the hybrid model; two important issues have to be considered before a large e-learning project can start viz. cost effectiveness and setup of a pilot. If an e-learning course has only a limited number of participants, it may not be cost effective to develop new material for self-paced learning; development and maintenance of high quality course material is a very time-consuming task. It may therefore be less expensive to have a couple of interactive sessions with a trainer. Of course this also depends on the expected number of future trainees and the changes on the subject matter. This study could not determine whether clients value planning flexibility over interactivity, because there were only a limited number of interviews possible. Before a large e-learning project can be set up, a choice has to be made. The recommended manner is to try the hybrid solution in a pilot course and to decide after an evaluation of the pilot whether or not to develop new materials for all or only a number of courses.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:54 computer science
Programme:Business Information Technology MSc (60025)
Link to this item:
Export this item as:BibTeX
HTML Citation
Reference Manager


Repository Staff Only: item control page