Informal e-learning: The case of small business owners
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Management
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the use of an informal online discussion forum (ODF) to encourage voluntary participation and promote double-loop learning by small business owners (SBOs). Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative methodology was used where data gathered from three sources, the ODF posts, in-depth interviews with participants and a focus group with non-participants. These were analysed to evaluate learning of SBOs in an ODF. Findings: This research provides evidence that an ODF for SBOs supports double-loop learning; however, participation could not be assumed simply by the online availability of the discussion resource. Research limitations/implications: Few SBOs participated in the ODF which is consistent with research finding SBOs are a difficult group to engage in learning. Four forms of data were analysed to strengthen results. Practical implications: Caution should be exercised when considering investment in e-learning for SBOs. Originality/value: Evidence showing e-learning through an informal voluntary ODF can promote deep learning for SBOs.