Enterprises believe that training for employees is so vital and helps the company to succeed. But, because training in the classic form is costly, organizations turn to online training for the various benefits it offers including money save, time and place flexibility. Yet, there are always wonders of the effectiveness of online training programs in comparison to face to face and classroom based learning.
Effectiveness of e-learning has been subject to academic research for years, and a lot of studies have tackled this subject. In this context, a recently published study has gone this direction and investigated factors that influence effectiveness of online training.
This study is conducted by a group of researchers from University of Sousse, and University of Manouba, Tunisia and published in this international journal IBIMA Business Review. This empirical study has been conducted on a sample of 410 Tunisian employees of 9 enterprises.
To evaluate how effective is an online training program, researchers made their investigation based on what they referred to as five theories: “motivation theory, social cognitive theory, media richness theory, technology acceptance theory and structure theory.”
To measure effectiveness of e-learning, researchers studied several “factors that explain learning performance and transfer performance” that include “motivation, self efficacy, contents of training, face to face meeting, e-mail exchange, easy of use, senior’s support, and continuous learning culture”.
Researchers noticed that even though “motivation influences learning performance”, but it is “not a relatively important variable”. They explained that employees can show motivation at the beginning to enroll in a training program just out of “curiosity or to point out themselves (image of oneself)”. But, later on “learning motivation can decrease little by little with the advance of training sessions.”
So, researchers explained that motivation has no importance in transfer performance, meaning that “the use of newly knowledge at work is not explained by the employees’ motivation but rather by the need to apply new knowledge, skills and behaviors for the performance of the required tasks.”
Instead, researchers that self efficacy is important for transfer of performance. They stated that “trainees who believe more in their abilities and aptitudes to use the computer tools to achieve the desired purpose will not be inevitably most likely to perform training tasks to become more operational for the use of newly knowledge and skills in the daily routines of job.”
Content of training
Among the other main factors that affect learning performance, researchers found “that training content constitute an important variable”. They also noticed that “task – related content affects negatively and weakly transfer performance.”
Social interactivity is another main factor stressed on by the study. “The social interactivity between trainees and trainers exert a positive effect on the learning performance” researchers stated.
Website’s ease of use
Researchers stressed on the importance of website’s ease of use. They said that “the site’s ease of use affects positively learning performance. Consequently the higher online site is clear, comprehensible and convivial, fewer efforts are required for trainees and better it will tend to achieve learning performance.”
The importance of supervisors in learning performance is also noticed by researchers. Supervisors have an indirect effect on this performance as stated in the study “the supervisors’ support on transfer performance is an indirect effect carried out through the learning performance since the employees are obliged to use new knowledge, skills and behaviors to suitably carry out the missions requested by their supervisors.”
Continuous learning culture is another factor investigated in the study, and though it “does not affect transfer performance”, but it “rather affects learning performance.”
Researchers come to a conclusion that “the effect of learning performance on the transfer performance is significant.” And they finished that the all the results they found in the study “seem to be crucial for e-learning effectiveness since the relationship between the two dependent variables were checked.”