This dissertation is a case study examining in depth how e-learning is developed, implemented and how effectiveness is determined at GE, IBM and Verizon. All three are large Fortune 500 companies with strong learning cultures. They are early adopters in use of e-learning for training their global workforce.
Research includes a review of literature on e-learning, books and articles written about e-learning at GE, IBM and Verizon, internal company documents and forty interviews by the author. This paper addresses the following questions: Why e-learning? How is e-learning developed? How is e-learning implemented? How do corporations determine effectiveness of e-learning? What are the lessons learned?
The author finds that e-learning has already made a significant difference in GE, IBM, and Verizon on how their employees learn and how they work as evidenced by each company's significant level of adoption. E-learning is a tool to be used along with other means of learning. The key is to make sure that it is the best way to learn for a particular application. It is a way to save costly face-to-face time for optimal use. There is no one size that fits all. GE, IBM and Verizon each has its own unique e-learning solutions.
Strategic vision, clear business objectives, well defined learning organization, strong leadership, corporate support, prudent use of e-learning, quality of content, ease of access, interoperability, accountability of learners and instructors and a well defined measurement system all matter. Successful integration of these ingredients is essential for effective e-learning. Ignoring any of these key ingredients can lead to failure.
Each company has its own rationale and approach to using e-learning. Each company provides a unique context for leveraging e-learning to train its employees. Each has been successful in using e-learning in its own right. This research paper analyzes the e-learning experiences of these three companies in the context of their business objectives and business environments. They collectively provide a rich context on how e-learning is created in corporations. Their experiences and lessons learned should serve as an important guide to those who are implementing e-learning.
This dissertation was given distinction by the University of Pennsylvania. It was nominated to Phi Delta Kappa as the best dissertation of the year in the Graduate School of Education.