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Strategizing for workplace e‐learning: some critical considerations

Laura Servage (University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 1 July 2005




The purpose of this work is twofold. First, the vagueness of e‐learning terminology is explored as a premise that the uncritical use of language reflects uncritical approaches to e‐learning. North American practitioner literature is then reviewed to examine the way(s) in which e‐learning vocabulary and metaphors reveal the attitudes and values that executive decision‐makers and analysts bring to bear on organizational e‐learning strategies.


Trade and industry publications related to e‐learning in the workplace are written both by and for executives and e‐learning analysts. A swath of these publications and web sites, along with three major white papers from the OECD, Canada Conference Board and NGA/ASTD were analyzed for major themes.


This review finds practitioner literature dominated by concerns about cost and technology in strategizing and implementation to the near exclusion of learner considerations. It is argued that a broader conceptualizing of e‐learning's impact is required for effective analysis.


This review lends perspective to the values and priorities of executive decision makers in practice, showing that a broader understanding of workers' learning and affective needs is required if e‐learning is to be applied effectively toward developing creative, productive, satisfying and sustainable learning organizations. Organizational decision makers should seek the input and perspective of multiple stakeholders to ensure that e‐learning strategies are appropriate not only in terms of financial and technological feasibility but also in the interests of lasting positive effects on employees and organizational culture.



Servage, L. (2005), "Strategizing for workplace e‐learning: some critical considerations", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 17 No. 5/6, pp. 304-317.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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