Document Type Doctoral Thesis Author Korpel, Isabeau Richard URN etd-03022005-151856 Document Title Identifying a leverage point to improve business performance through eLearning : a case study in a financial institution Degree PhD (Curriculum Studies) Department Curriculum Studies Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof J C Cronjι Keywords
- return on expectation
- business performance
- leverage point
- driver problem
- focus groups
- systems thinking
- return on investment
- systems dynamic model
- financial institution
Date 2004-10-09 Availability unrestricted AbstractIn an ever-changing world of work Absa, as a business, is faced with various challenges including the continuous development of skills. Due to technological advancements, eLearning can provide a mechanism to rapidly build the required strategic and tactical skills that the organisation needs. This study explored the challenge of articulating the contribution of eLearning to business performance in an unbounded way.
The study focused on the creation of knowledge about how the contribution of eLearning to business performance can be improved. In the process of knowledge creation, the study focused on identifying the point of value creation between Business and an eLearning intervention. This point of value creation can be seen as a leverage point. Systems Thinking was implemented as an approach in order to identify the leverage point.
The following research objectives were defined:
· To identify the driver problem that prevents eLearning from improving business performance.
· To design the systems dynamic model that represents the driver problem.
· To identify the leverage point within the systems dynamic model.
· To reflect on the effect that the behaviour of the individuals, participating in the research process, has on the research inquiry.
The sample of 28 focus group participants was selected from two specific divisions of Absa the eChannels: Contact Centre and the Learning and Development Department. This sample consisted of Operational Management, Team Leaders, Contact Centre Consultants and learning design experts. Executive Management was excluded from the focus groups, but was included in the process as verifiers. This created an opportunity for Executive Management to voice their opinions.
The results of the study indicate that the leverage point for successful contribution of eLearning to business performance is
A shared mental model of expectations between the participating stakeholders.
Once Business and the Learning and Development Department start going through the constructive cycle of the systems dynamic model repeatedly, they will continuously build the shared mental model of expectations. This cycle will also build on the: 1) Level of visible support of the line managers; 2) Level of clarity of business needs to all relevant stakeholders; 3) Number of requests from business for eLearning opportunities; and 4) Level of awareness and understanding of appropriate eLearning interventions per target population. The effect of the positive reinforcement of the recurring cycle will ensure that eLearning continuously contributes to business performance.
During the study the effect of the research process on the focus group participants as well as the effect of the focus group participants on the research process was also accounted for. Observers reflected on the behaviour of the focus group participants and found that their opinions and thought processes influenced the outcome of the study. The focus group participants felt that they had learnt something new, that the tasks set to the groups was clear and that the topics they had learnt most about were systems thinking followed by the relationship between eLearning and business performance.
Copyright © 2004, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria
Please cite as follows:
Korpel, IR, 2004, Identifying a leverage point to improve business performance through eLearning : a case study in a financial institution, PhD (Curriculum Studies) thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-03022005-151856/>
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