Putting professional development online: integrating learning as productive activity

Virpi Slotte (Everscreen, SanomaWSOY Group, Espoo, Finland)
Anne Herbert (Helsinki School of Economics Executive Education, Helsinki, Finland)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Publication date: 1 June 2006



This paper aims to understand the situational appropriateness of adopting e‐learning for the in‐house company qualification, and more specifically to compare the benefits of studying online to more traditional way of studying with print material.


At the end of seven months study, final test results for company certification were collected and analyzed. Additionally, quantitative and qualitative data from the 59 employees' individual learning experiences were obtained to address the research questions.


The paper finds that the first year's experiences of using e‐learning course were mostly positive. The results showed that participants learning online gained similar or slightly better learning outcomes than those who used the print material. Those learning online earned the certificate in less time in comparison with those studying the print version.

Research limitations/implications

The present study is limited by its small and potentially non‐representative sample, representing those who voluntarily participated to work towards the in‐house qualification.

Practical implications

The practical implications of the results include integrating e‐learning into the real workplace environment. When enough attention is paid to the course design, e‐learning provides good possibilities for effective use of employee time. The work has relevance for other corporate training providers considering incorporating e‐learning into their professional development programs.


Not many companies who have moved traditionally delivered programs online, have been able to compare groups of employees who have studied from text‐based material with those who have taken the online version. Two separate research processes implemented provided a unique opportunity to analyze work‐based learning outcomes.



Slotte, V. and Herbert, A. (2006), "Putting professional development online: integrating learning as productive activity", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 235-247. https://doi.org/10.1108/13665620610665836

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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