Title

Informal e-learning: The case of small business owners

Document Type

Journal Article

Publisher

Emerald

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Law

School

School of Management

RAS ID

16631

Comments

This article was originally published as: Smith T., Barrett R. (2014). Informal e-learning: The case of small business owners. Education and Training, 56(2), 219-232. Original article available here

Abstract

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.

DOI

10.1108/ET-03-2013-0047

Access Rights

Not open access

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