Learner perceptions of barriers in corporate online training.
Trondsen, Norene H.
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The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the perceptions and experiences of corporate employees prior to, during, and at the conclusion of their first self-paced, asynchronous, web-based course. Previous studies on barriers have been quantitative in nature at the organizational level, or student perceptions of their first online course focused on instructor-led online courses in an academic setting. Recent literature has identified the barriers faced by novice online learners and the need to conduct more studies focused on learner perceptions and attitudes. The sample for this study consisted of thirteen adult employees participating in a corporate training program who were about to engage in their first asynchronous, self-paced, web-based corporate training class. Subjects completed pre-course/post-course self-assessments ranking their confidence in the areas related to skills needed for successful online learning, and three surveys consisting of closed and open ended questions to gather data on learner perceptions of the barriers to corporate online learning. Analysis of the data revealed that, of the four barriers most commonly identified in the literature, subjects perceived limited self-direction abilities to be the greatest barrier throughout the course, followed by support from help desk/ supervisor/organization, computer skills, time management (identified as an additional barrier by study subjects), and absence of face-to-face contact. Subjects also identified another eleven additional factors that they perceived to be barriers, as well as recurring issues that persisted throughout the course to impede their learning efforts. Despite these barriers, subjects were unanimous in their desire to engage in another self-paced online course.