Advancing work practices

Signe Schack Noesgaard (Department of Learning and Philosophy, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark and The KATA Foundation, Sønderborg, Denmark)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 21 November 2016



The paper aims to discuss the effectiveness of e-Learning in advancing work practices. The paper investigates the assumption that e-Learning is as effective as face-to-face interventions when stimulating change. It also examines the assumption that well-designed and well-executed instructional interventions will advance work practices.


The paper synthesizes contemporary social-psychological and educational research in the creation of a model of intervention-based change. In addition, the findings from an empirical study of online teacher professional development simultaneously inspire and exemplify the model.


The paper suggests that increased attention to individual motivational drivers is needed, especially post intervention, to help ensure meaningful learning transfer and sustainable behavior change. The importance of individualized on-the-job scaffolding for employees is highlighted through relational considerations of attrition and scaffolding. In investigating the chasm between initial and sustained change, seemingly unpredictable contextual factors appear to be critical to the effectiveness of e-Learning in advancing work practices.

Practical implications

In recognition of the vulnerability and situatedness of turning instructional interventions into sustainable change, the paper initiates a rethinking of e-Learning as technologies for on-the-job, just-in-time and individualized performance support. The paper gives concrete examples of current technologies that may assist in online scaffolding, while also acknowledging that this is still a field in which further research and developments are needed.


The paper critically investigates some of the more resilient assumptions that serve as a fundament for professional development interventions currently. It conceptualizes intervention-based change and the key motivational drivers of such change. In doing so, it illuminates highly contextual dynamics presumed to have a critical impact on the effectiveness of e-Learning for PD.



Noesgaard, S. (2016), "Advancing work practices", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 246-260.

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