NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Back to results
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ801707
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1366-5626
Virtual Learning Communities as a Vehicle for Workforce Development: A Case Study
Allan, Barbara; Lewis, Dina
Journal of Workplace Learning, v18 n6 p367-383 2006
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the benefits and challenges of using a virtual learning community (VLC) as a vehicle for workforce development. This paper argues that VLCs provide a flexible vehicle for workforce development. However, workplace realities may lead to unexpected challenges for participants wanting exploit the flexibility of e-learning technologies. Design/methodology/approach: The case study is located in a strategic healthcare organisation in the UK. The study used a multi-method approach to develop a rich picture of the VLC. Data were collected from a variety of sources (programme evaluation questionnaires, learning logs, discussion group messages and VLE tracking system) and analysed using quantitative and qualitative methods. Findings: The findings indicate that while membership of a VLC offers new opportunities for collaboration, learning and working at a time and place that suits individuals it also offers many challenges. The following issues were identified as having an impact on effective participation in the VLC: motivation; time management; public/private boundaries; work/life balance; and access to ICT. Research limitations/implications: There are limitations in generalising from a particular case study. The use of a case study provides a depth to the study that helps to illuminate the experiences of individual e-learners. Practical implications: The findings have strategic implications for organisations planning to use VLCs to support workforce development. The study indicates the need for facilitators to enable participants to explore time and work/life balance issues. It highlights the importance of involving the managers of e-learners in the negotiations involved in establishing a VLC. Finally, the study identified that employers need to provide protected time for e-learners and that access to technology is an issue. Originality/value: The research has value to managers who are considering using VLCs as a means of enhancing workforce development. (Contains 2 tables.)
Emerald. 875 Massachusetts Avenue 7th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02139. Tel: 888-622-0075; Fax: 617-354-6875; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom