The purpose of this paper is to evaluate learners' attitudes to the use of simulation‐based e‐learning as part of workplace learning when socially situated interaction and blended learning are specifically included in the instructional design.
Responses to a survey questionnaire of 298 sales personnel were collected and analysed. Additionally, quantitative and qualitative data from 37 sales directors were obtained to further address the research question.
It was found that a majority of the participants conveyed improvement in their overall level of customer service skills applied in their own work tasks. In addition to the on‐line simulation being an engaging and fun way of learning, the socially situated interaction and blended delivery of the training program encouraged and facilitated discussion and fruitful debates about customer service in the workplace.
This study was limited by its potentially non‐representative sample, representing those who voluntarily participated to improve their sales and customer service skills in one chain bookstore.
A high rate of positive participant responses is attributable to the proper opportunity to supplement learning with practice, achieved through the design features of the program. The work has relevance for other corporate training providers considering incorporating live facilitation into on‐line simulation solutions.
Previously, not much attention has been paid to the use of a coach physically present working with learners using on‐line simulation‐based training, nor to differential benefits such arrangements may provide. Nor were many practical examples of socially situated e‐learning found in the literature. Feedback from both sales personnel and their directors provided a unique opportunity to analyse a work‐based training program using such arrangements.
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