Generational differences in satisfaction with e-learning in a corporate-learning environment
Toni O'Dell, University of Houston, United States
University of Houston . Awarded
This study examined the perceived differences in satisfaction among employees of various age groups in corporate learning environments. Kulik (1994) found that learners reported higher satisfaction when e-learning is an element of the-learning process, and the literature shows a relationship between learner characteristics and measures of satisfaction. However, the relationship of these factors to the individual age groups is an area that has warranted further examination.
Learner-satisfaction in relation to e-learning has been found to be of importance in the development of computer-based training (Soles & Moller, 2001). To examine the relationships among training, technology, and age, this study looked at such demographic variables as type of organization, job, age, and e-learning experience. This study was based on Wang's (2003) theoretical construct of e-learner satisfaction (ELS), which he defined as, ...a summary affective response of varying intensity that follows e-learning activities, and is stimulated by several focal aspects, such as content, user-interface, learning community customization and learning performance. (p. 77)
One research question guided this study and one hypothesis was tested. Research Question 1 was, Are older participants in corporate training sessions more or less satisfied with e-learning than younger participants? Hypothesis 1 was, Younger participants would report significantly higher levels of satisfaction with e-learning than will older participants.
To maximize the sample size, the study focused on the overall responses to e-learning as a medium, not responses to a single example. This quantitative study used both descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze the data.
An on-line, cross-sectional survey of E-Learning satisfaction (ELS) developed by Wang (2003) was used to gather data. The 24-item instrument was designed as a closed form and divided into two main sections: demographic and e-learner satisfaction questions. The satisfaction questions were divided into four sections: learner interface, content, learner community, and personalization. The sample was 237 English-speaking employees who have taken e-learning format courses for training within a corporate training environment.
The results were analyzed using analysis of variance to determine what, if any, significant differences existed. Analysis of variances (ANOVA) for e-learning satisfaction (ELS) mean scores and generational group were calculated. The ANOVA test for the ELS mean scores revealed no significant mean differences with a mean squares of 0.460, f = 1.31 and p = 0.121, (p < .05). Based on these findings the hypothesis was not supported.
However, this study points to three areas where there is room for development and improvement across all generations with regard to e-learning satisfaction. These three areas include: content autonomy, personalization, and learning community accessibility. Current and developing technologies are already addressing these elements. Conversely, implementation into corporate learning environments appears to be lagging behind many learners' expectations.
O'Dell, T. Generational differences in satisfaction with e-learning in a corporate-learning environment. Ph.D. thesis, University of Houston.
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