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Introduction of Technology Based Learning

Executive Summary

The report is prepared for Rollins group, a leading rubber products manufacturer as for how TBL helps the company to provide online based training to all of its employees across the globe in order to decrease expenditure and reliance by 30% which was incurred by the company when it used tradition off-site training programmes. Furthermore, the relation between TBL and KSA was clearly identified and emphasised on how jointly they could improve the productivity of the company. Contextual factors were assessed to find their significant role in determining the performance of the company through various indicators. Moreover, learning and development needs of the employees, as well as, that of the organisation were analysed to determine business objectives to bring improvement in the performance of the company. Finally, it was found that although TBL lacks reliability and credibility, yet it is the future of learning as if further improvements are performed by the company; then it would bring success for the company and increase its performance to remain a leader in its respective business

Introduction

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Technology-based Learning (TBL) is a teaching and learning process which is conducted with the help of technologies such as the internet, audio and video tape and conferencing, chat rooms, webcast, e-bulletin and computer-based instruction (Uden, 2006). TBL differs from traditional learning. TBL has methodologies where learners, as well as, instructors are in the same room and instruction is purely computer based. Furthermore, here technology takes a front seat to enrich traditional face-to-face education. It emphasises on learning solutions and results and could be personalised. In any TBL model, workers have access to the training module whenever they required via a computer (Koller, Harvey and Magnott, n.d). Moreover, technology allows TBL delivery system to anticipate future information and learning needs by recognising patterns in learning styles and delivering training to workers as needed by the learner (Mandinac and Cline, 2013). In this report, the TBL is conducted for providing training to workers of Rollins Group, which is a global organisation producing rubber product for automotive sector and oil exploration industry. The research would be done to find ways to reduce the reliance and expenditure upon off- site courses by 30% which could be achieved through TBL.

Literature Review

TBL based learning is gaining momentum across all over the world in recent years. It fosters greater accessibility to learning by offering anytime and anywhere via online. Moreover, it can accommodate large groups, as well as, smaller groups of learners at little cost and could enrol them easily. It is self-paced, based on learner’s needs that emphasis on discovery learning. Due to this reason, TBL has witnessed marked growth in the training marketplace in industry, government, and education as cited by Mandinac and Cline (2013). According to Vosniadou, de Corte and Mandl (2012), although it has many advantages; but in the present scenario, TBL is not without the challenges. The major challenge is low computer literacy rate and lack of access to good technology among people which hampers the benefits generated by TBL. Another challenge is “social loafing”, which is characterised by those students which get frustrated with the course of material and thus gets less engaged with learning programmes. Cennamo, Ross and Ertmer (2009) indicated that the course developers also face challenges and problems related to technological incompatibility which reduces the efficiency of online courses and there are no facilities for learners with disabilities. At last, Koller, Harvey and Magnott (n.d) describes TBL as less e/pre-coursedocuments/pre-coursedocuments2016-17/Secondary_MFL_-_History_of_Education_in_England_part_1.pdf credible than traditional face-to-face instruction and the person with TBL certification is less likely to be hired for a job unless it is provided by an accredited institution.

There are many ways through which students, as well as, an adult could learn. This could be achieved through knowledge, skill and attitude based learning (KSA). Frischmann (2013) explains that skill-based learning is often used in learning concrete skills which revolve around developing specific skill and using it to obtain required knowledge so that it would help any potential employee to perform better in a job. Skill based learning helps in self-assessment of an individual by providing a standard for measuring their performance and capabilities and provides a framework for identifying learning programs to meet employee and organisational needs. This type of learning improves self-confidence and allows an individual to tackle the problems which are in front of them and achieve their aim.

Dumont, Istance and Benavides (2010) demonstrates that knowledge is the most common mode of learning that revolves around knowledge of the students and how they are going to achieve them and thus connect the learning to real life. It helps an individual to link existing knowledge with given activity, set guidelines for the task and then complete the task efficiently. It has been noted by Raelin (2008) that attitude based learning helps to foster positive attitude and character. It is simple but effective steps to ensure the transformation of the individual in the way they think and feels about themselves. It includes receiving knowledge, responding to it, judging it to find whether it is right or wrong, and then using an innovative idea which impacts an individual tremendously. ren from poorer background. Thus, Comprehensive school system was designed that promised equalities for all children.

Mandinac and Cline (2013) and Vosniadou, de Corte and Mandl (2012) have mentioned in their research that TBL and KSA based learning goes side-by-side. Now with the help of the internet, the course could be prepared where trainer could impart training to either an individual or workers of any organisation and allow them to gain knowledge related to their respective field. They also displayed that now companies have ideas that which skills and knowledge are required by their employees, and TBL would help them to groom them in the skills which they required the most and gain the acquired knowledge and apply it in their given work. When coming to attitude based learning, the authors critically evaluated it and found that TBL is capable enough to provide specific knowledge and this would help them to get the required attitude to tackle any problems they face during their work and thus achieve success by completing the goal.

O'Neil and Perez (2013) and Koller and Biech (2011) disagrees with what Mandinac and Cline (2013) and Vosniadou, de Corte and Mandl (2012) said, albeit in a different way. They agree that TBL has brought a drastic change in a way to learn anything, but still, they lack credibility and are less reliable when compared to imparting KSA through tradition way that is face-to-face learning. They suggest that knowledge based learning and skill based learning through TBL is still in a nascent phase and it does not fulfil needs and aspiration of an individual. When compared to attitude based learning, TBL is worse enough to nurture better and positive attitude among people through the internet or other digital means. They are in firm belief that TBL has a long way to go to achieve a major breakthrough, but it will achieve it in the near future.

Proposal

The research report is based on Rollins Group which is an international organisation and one of the world’s largest producers of rubber products for the automotive sector and the oil exploration industry. Moreover, it also supplies its products like rubber gloves and disinfectant to hospitals. It manufactures its goods with technical excellence and develops leading edge products. It has more than 60,000 employees who comprise managerial, professional staff and semi-skilled works that are concentrated mostly in manufacturing and distribution sites. Furthermore, it provides professional services like HRM, Finance, Marketing and Data Management.

TBL is a new approach to learning which transforms the way people learn and acquire knowledge via electronic technology like the internet. It includes online learning, computer and web-based learning. It believes in learning solutions and results, and it makes courses available in training mode via computer (O'Neil and Perez, 2013). Besides this with advanced technology, it allows capitalising future information and learning needs by delivering training to workers in a recognised learning model as needed by the management of the company (Bender, 2012).

The company acknowledge that informal learning and development activities are crucial to provide an environment for continuous adaption and change both by the individual and ultimately the organisation. In addition to this, it also provides e-learning through an online platform called Nottingham Online Workspace (NOW) as company consider it as an efficient way to impart skills and knowledge in their workforce and would help them to capture the imagination of learner and increase their learning capability. (NOW) allows access to learning at the workplace or on any internet-enabled computer.

Rollins Group Team Research

In the group, all staffs of the group have a minimum of NVQ Level 4 in Learning and Development. They have attended a 5-day course of the training programme in Nottingham. This course was developed 5 years ago and is running every year. They have carried out some research on expenditure on offsite training courses and discovered that the cost is very high which is approximately coming around £18.1m.

There are many reasons that the company is finding difficult to sustain with off- the job training and opt for TBL. First reason is that there is a decrease in the rate of employee engagement in training courses over the last three years and is most noticeable among the technical graduate population. Second reason is that majority of development interventions having their basis on external off-site programmes which are not much reliable. Third reason is that there is partiality in providing training to all employees. Some employees who have potential and have shown interest are given external executive coaching but in a fragmented and sporadic manner and other employees are barred from attaining this coaching. Furthermore, there is an increase in cases of apathy and scepticism among employees leading to mishandling of workers grievances issues. This exemplifies that there are barriers in providing training through mentoring and coaching and which does not benefit all employees. So, all those factors made way for Rollins group to adopt TBL from on-the-job training to their employees as to get a better result.

Advantages of TBL to Rollins

TBL provides various benefits to the company. First, it provides is easy accessibility to its workers. It allows flexibility to working person in Rollins group to access learning course at any time as per their requirement. Furthermore, it allows new workers to assess these courses without risking their work time. It also removes geographical barriers, and any workers of the company could assess the courses via the internet at any place (Barnett et al., 2013). The second benefit is that it allows learners of Rollins group to advance through the course at their own pace. There is not strict time limit to complete the assignment and can refresh their assignment easily (Luppicini and Haghi, 2016).

The third benefit is scalability that is it can accommodate larger volumes of employees at little or negligible cost. It thus allows them to access skills through given courses easily and saves time and cost of the company with effective delivery. The fourth major advantage of TBL courses is that as they as they are delivered online, they can be developed and updated whenever needs arise. Therefore, it is easy to discard outdated courses and to replace it with new courses and retraining course instructors efficiently at any given time (Barnett et al., 2013).

The fifth advantage is that it allows streamlined course which means that for workers of Rollins group, the traditional course could be converted to streamline one which reduces production of duplicated material thereby decreasing overall running time. The sixth advantage is that it helps in promoting learning retention. It has been found learner learns best when they involved in any learning activity. TBL provides this opportunity by allowing access in the hands-on manipulation of course materials, game-playing and their simulation, thus fulfilling the aspiration of workers working in the company (Luppicini and Haghi, 2016).

Thus, TBL helps in reducing expenditure on offsite courses by using online training methods where each and every worker of Rollins group across the globe can get access to courses which saves their travelling time, as well as, the cost incurred by the company in providing training to its workers.

Drawbacks/Limitations of TBL to Rollins

Despite various advantages, TBL is not immune to challenges. The first drawback is digital divide which affects a significant number of employees as Rollins Group is unable to provide same internet speed at the same rate in all headquarters as different countries have different internet speed. The second drawback is social loafing in which learners reduce their level of effort in learning and getting trained. TBL learners can be particularly prone to social loafing because, without the vigil view of instructor and tutors, it is easy for learners to perceive that they are not being monitored. Users who are frustrated by the technology, or who are better in getting training through a personal tutor, may also reduce their effort in using TBL which may be perceived as social loafing (Armstrong, 2015).

Another challenge is attrition rate which means that it is not able to sustain workers for a long time to attain the courses. The reasons for increased attrition rate are workers selection of wrong courses, lack of technical skills, getting enrolled only to meet personal objectives and so on. The fourth drawback is technology compatibility which requires training programs to share and recycle content with a variety of learning management systems (LMS) resulting in high developmental cost thus creating a burden on the company (Coelho, 2008).

The fifth challenge is development costs as TBL requires a significant investment. Development costs are high in the initial phase, but generate profits in future and which

compensate for their high initial investment. It is up to the company that how could it manage initial cost to increase its profit in coming years. Sixth and most important one is that TBL lacks credibility. A recent survey found that the management of Rollins group are concerned that TBL is more susceptible to cheating and poor quality than traditional face-to-face training. This shows that TBL has a long way to achieve its objectives and employees’ preferences are still with traditional training method (Thomas and Reinders, 2013).

Contextual Factors

Contextual factors are factors that reflect a particular characteristic which is unique to a particular group, society and individual. It is divided into internal, as well as, external forces. Internal contextual factors include the mission, vision, history, philosophy, goals, culture, financial resources, programs and policies, and infrastructure of any organisation. External contextual factors originate from outside the company and include demographics, culture, technology and informatics, professional standards and trends, the environment, and social, political, and economic conditions (Heidhues and Patel, 2012).

The first is related to quality which measures products and services with specifications by monitoring factors such as the number of defects or the effort needed to prevent quality which is not acceptable. It is used to analyse internal factors such as financial resources, infrastructure, and external factors such as technology and professional standards to observe the quality of products to be produced in the company (Kronsbein, Meiser and Leyer, 2014).

Second is related to time in a contextual factor which indicates manufacturing performance of a firm. It is used to analyse how the company manage to produce rubber goods which are good in performance by performing various test to check whether there is any defect or not (Kronsbein, Meiser and Leyer, 2014). The third factor is accessing cost of a company which could be done by looking at the cost type like accounting and absorbed the cost, as well as, distinguishing the different sources of the costs like labour costs and material costs (Shen et al., 2008).

Learning and Development Needs

Learning is a necessary process for achieving business objectives, and to improve organisational performance. It bridges the gap between current capabilities of the organisation with that of delivering business results (Bee and Bee, 2003). In most organisations, amount spends on training is considered as a significant business investment. It must be effectively prioritised business goals to make training and development of an organisation a success. The Rollins group needs to ensure identification and development of skills, knowledge and abilities of their workers so as to make the performance and working of organisation cost-effective and robust (Vanbuel, 2000). To ensure proper training and development initiatives, the company must first identify training needs through various assessments of further gaps between existing training and training that will be required in the future. Conducting a training needs assessment is the first step in creating a targeted training and development program within the organisation. Organisation Assessment

This type of assessment will help Rollins Group to analyses the effectiveness of the organisation as a whole and identifies any gaps or defects present in the performance of the organisation. Organisational assessments also take into account external factors such as the economy, environmental policies, technological advances and changing workforce demographics. It determines where, when and how training would be needed, as well as, conducted. Organisational assessment will help Rollins to answer two important questions related to development which includes a place where training is required and effectiveness of training to be implemented (Stewart and Rigg, 2011).

Task Assessment

It gathers information about a particular functional job and occupation. This analysis identifies the key tasks which include competencies and skills required to perform the job at the most efficient level. Job inventory questionnaires and skills are analysed with the help of description of the job and then is used to discover special training needs. In the present case, assessment is used to find gaps and improvement in performance. It answers questions related to skills and behaviours which must be acquired by the employee to better their job functionality (Fabricant, Miller and Stark, 2013).

Individual Assessment

It focuses on a particular employee to discover their performance capacity. This type of assessment determines the individual’s skills which are in them and competencies, their learning style and capacity for new work. The individual analysis by Rollins identifies which employees within the organisation required training and what training module would be most suitable for them. It answers questions related to necessary skills required by the employees and type of training to acquire the necessary skills (Schein, 2016).

Learning and Instruction Design Theories

The instruction design field was developed in a single, ideal instruction theory that would specify characteristics, classification and evaluation procedures so as to modify design system for the company which is being tested (Reigeluth, 2013). There are many theories which integrate instruction technology with learning.

Behaviourist Theory

It was based on behavioural influences and based on the environmental stimulus-response-reinforcement model to ensure achievement of learning outcomes. This theory is the hierarchical sequencing of content from elemental subordinate information to more complex skills. Here, learning is defined as the change in learner’s behaviour. The goal of this theory is to identify small but incremental task learner needed to acquire for successful completion of instruction, prepare specific behavioural objectives to acquire those skills and sequencing this acquisition in order to lead to successful learner outcomes (Reigeluth, 2013).

Cognitive Learning Theory

It is based on understanding how people learn by assessing human mind. It explores mental processes of the mind like thinking, knowing, memory and problem-solving, where knowledge is defined as symbolic mental instructions and learning as a change in learner’s point of view. In contrast to behavioural theory, it allows people to participate in learning which results in actions based on consequences of thinking. From this report perspective, a set of requirements for instruction system design is defined which includes that system should be designed for individual employees, based on knowledge about their learning and how it affects their development (Richey, Klein and Tracey, 2010).

Integrated Instructional Design Theory

This theory is based on specific, well-defined performance outcomes in knowledge and cognitive process. Its main emphasis is on instructional variables and conditions based on individual learner progress and need. It evaluates learner’s needs by assessing learning progress through appropriate instruction sequences, strategies and media platform. The role of the instructor continued to change to reflect more flexibility in the learning environment. The role of technology is also to allow instructional design researchers to work with computer software specialists to develop interactive instructional systems (Dijkstra et al., 2013).

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For Rollins group integrated instruction design theory would be beneficial as it combines both behavioural and cognition learning theory. It allows wide interaction of self-regulated and goal-directed learning construct of personal knowledge through discovery and exploration in a responsive learning environment. Interactive technologies that can adaptively and intelligently respond to the learning needs and progress can activate that environment (Dijkstra et al., 2013). One of the methods is online interactivity which allows the learner to interact with their tutor effectively and appropriately. This theory has a structured approach as it emphasises learning procedural knowledge through extensive practice with problem-solving. Here tutor through the online medium provides a proper pathway of carefully structured goals which leads towards an efficient performance for well-defined cognitive skills (Richey, Klein and Tracey, 2010). Furthermore, it also has a self-regulatory approach to accomplish to complete a task by encountering problems and working in a group to find problem-solving solutions. This approach is based on learning theories about the social genesis of learning in which the learner is characterised as being motivated to seek explanations through exploration (Reigeluth, 2013). These two approaches provide contextual learning towards specific problem-solving tasks, as well as, defining the importance of problem-solving strategies in conflict or failure by providing impetus towards new learning.

Conclusion

The research was conducted on Rollins group, which is a leading manufacturer and producer of rubber products globally; to found how effective use of TBL enhances its productivity by reducing the reliance and expenditure upon off- site courses by 30%. In research, it has been found by the researcher that TBL is easily assessable, online and could be attended by a large group of employees without the requirement of any tutor and thus deliver effective result with a reduction in transportation cost, as well as, teaching cost. However, it was found that it is less reliable than its traditional counterpart and reduces the efficiency of online courses. Results from the study also illustrate that KSA based learning improves self-confidence and helps to tackle problems effectively and efficiently and brings out positive character among the employees. Another research demonstrates that if TBL and KSA go side by side, it leads to the grooming of their skills and helps them to show off their skills in case of emergency and achieve the goal.

The research analysed drawbacks of off the job training which was previously conducted by the company which led to increasing in financial strain on the company. It found that TBL provides an opportunity to connect all employees in one platform and conducting training online successfully to achieve the required target. It also explains how various contextual factors help to identify the performance of the company by taking quality, time and cost factors into consideration and successfully displaying collaboration between them. Moreover, learning and development needs of the company were also identified to remove any discrepancies and gaps which help to improve the individual, as well as, organisational goals.

Recommendation

There are various recommendations which are required for successful implementation of TBL by the company. They are:

Increase reliability of the course by using authenticated materials

Provision of same internet speed in all online courses across the globe so as to be assessed by all employees

Decreasing the development cost by using advanced technology to provide online facilities at negligible cost

Increase technology compatibility by developing varieties of LMS

Reduce the attraction rate among employees by making the course attractive and enjoyabl

Reduce dependency on traditional learning by providing good tutors online

Increase internet literacy among workforce so as to allow them to access the courses effectively

Make the course content more dynamic by regularly replacing old materials of courses with new on

Increase integration among courses so as to make them attractive (Vosniadou, de Corte and Mandl, 2012

Learning Plan

Development of staff is critical for any company. So, planning for development is essential for Rollins group as it is essential to identify knowledge and skills required to achieve objectives of the company. For this, it is necessary for the company to develop a learning plan and then review it to analyse its validity.

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