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Cross‐disciplinary contributions to e‐learning design: a tripartite design model

Holly M. Hutchins (College of Technology, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)
Dennis Hutchison (Key Energy Services, Houston, Texas, USA)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 4 July 2008




The purpose of this paper is to review cross‐disciplinary research on e‐learning from workplace learning, educational technology, and instructional communication disciplines to identify relevant e‐learning design principles. It aims to use these principles to propose an e‐learning model that can guide the design of instructionally sound, usable, and interactive e‐learning courses and programs for workplace learning.


The paper is a review of empirical and conceptual e‐learning literature from human resource development, workplace learning, educational technology and instructional communication.


The paper presents a current review of e‐learning design research, identifies convergent areas of e‐learning design practices, and proposes a tripartite e‐learning design model. Design principles identified in the literature review include adherence to instructional design principles based on adult learning principles, ensuring human‐technology interface (usability) guidelines, and supporting online immediacy (social presence) attributes.

Practical implications

An expanded view of e‐learning design strategies grounded in a learning sciences perspective and encompassing research on behavioral, cognitive, constructivist and humanistic theories is offered.


The study provides an integrated e‐learning design model that represents main areas of e‐learning research and suggests competencies for e‐trainers.



Hutchins, H.M. and Hutchison, D. (2008), "Cross‐disciplinary contributions to e‐learning design: a tripartite design model", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 364-380.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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