It is evident that the need for learning and innovation is crucial for any business organisation, thus it must be established and rooted into all of the business processes in the organisation, rather than being considered as an independent function to facilitate an independent knowledge management department or a knowledge management process. Learning is thus vital to achieving sustainable improvement of performance and to acquire innovation (Jenex, 2006).
In such a rapidly growing knowledge economies, learning and innovation are the most vital needs for organisations to compete and expand, although some challenges and implementation issues are associated (Wasny, 2002). For example in today's banking a set of competencies needs to be developed and expanded, in addition to certain skills and knowledge in order to become successful and competent in such an improving field. The emphasis in the banking sector today is not on how to perform the work properly according to the regulations and standards, but on how to innovate in implementing the work and to create innovative procedures that improve the performance and enhance the bank's operations and eventually realise the overall objectives of the bank. In this regard, the implementation of The Libyan Agricultural Bank to E-learning could be a good example of the contribution of learning and innovation to the expansion and improvement of several organisations as valuable and crucial to enhance the capacities of these organisations through high quality education, training, in addition to other skills development programmes, where the rapidly growing trendÂ growth of the internet use in the e-banking represents a real change for the Libyan Agricultural Bank's to execute its operations in general and financial operations in particular in a competitive and improved manner to cope with the high quality standards of banking services. The growing and rapidly changing pattern of learning and knowledge itself represents another challenge for the bank, especially with regard to the financial institutions' knowledge; concerning their systems and operations along with the continuously changing information technology. The Libyan agricultural bank attempted to provide its staff with the necessary knowledge and learning in order to cope with the innovative patterns of banking and to compete and survive in the banking market, as such the bank provided its staff with comprehensive learning and skills development, in particular in the fields of loan operations and disbursement in addition to recovery management, so as to improve the bank's services and to expand its banking activities. This implementation of learning has some valuable implications on the bank's services quality which led to achieving considerable revenues.
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According to Learn Frame (2000), the prevailing internet use is contributing significantly to the substantial growth in the size of the e-Learning market. More over, the significant shifts in e-business and its implications on the improvements of the organisational operations created the need for the organisations to innovate and learn.
The World Bank Group (2008), Organisations are facing growing challenges to perform their operations, manage their resources, and realize their objectives, these challenges require the organisations to learn and implement the appropriate knowledge that would enable them to innovate in order to implement new business strategies and to develop new forms of products and distribution techniques. Technological literacy has thus becomes vital to satisfy these needs. The growing use of internet and its networks together with the collective.
Innovation and its contribution in achieving mass production and implementing intellectual methods of sales and distribution contribute to the continuous change in the market place and urge the organisations to implement the latest learning and innovation techniques. This is due to the evolution of the way the organisations perform their business operations, the way they collaborate, and communicate. All these ways have changed with the changing business world with its more flexible boundaries and with the globalization of economies, where the advanced tools of innovation made access to the markets via the web more popular and the products become more accessible and portable, with flexible ways of purchase and payment. Furthermore, the ease of affording supply and distribution tools via the innovative technology urge the need of the organisations to learn and implement these advancements in order to eliminate the obstacles that hinder their production, where the employees can learn through training about the best use of mass media and the audio/visual means to supply and promote the production, in addition to the utilization of new technologies in holding virtual meeting and conferences, among other innovative tools to support collaborative work online without any complication, videoconferences can easily be held through computer networks to serve as a multifunction room and gateway that gathers several people in virtual meeting. The innovation and considerable advancements in web applications, networking infrastructure, tools, collaborative workspaces and social networking, have made virtual collaboration to a large extent useful and perfect. However, the organisations' need for learning should not be limited or restricted, collaborative learning could be a useful way to utilise mix of technologies such as that kind of learning available at the global project "skoolaborate" that uses LMS and virtual worlds, among other facilities to afford collaborative learning (www.skoolaborate.com). Furthermore, The development of technology and infrastructure is considerable to an extent where mobile phone becomes a multi-functional device and essential tool provide access to the internet and include cameras, audio recorders, digital video recorders, pocket date-books, photo albums, and music players.
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For an organisation to improve, it needs to learn new course of knowledge and to breakthrough innovation by utilizing various electronic media resources, together with the internet, intranets, extranets, satellite broadcast, audio / video tape, interactive TV, and CD-ROMs. As such, innovative multimedia technologies and the internet could be utilised to improve the quality of learning and to achieve innovation. Among the learning tools, the organisations need to access a wide range of knowledge and diversity of information in order to build the capacities of their employees and to enhance their skills to an extent where they can developing the knowledge they learn to innovate and produce further knowledge that can be implemented by the organisation and contribute to its improvement, in this regard, E-learning among other means of online learning, web-based training and technology delivery instructions be utilised using self paced instruction that is offered over the internet to the web browsers that equipped learners (Kossen, 2002).
Nevertheless, learning and innovation are not only a requirement for the organisation staff to improve their skills and for the organisation to prosper and achieve its objectives, it is rather needs to be enable the staff to facilitate in their organisation's activities professionally, to become cooperative team members, and when it is required they would be able to work appropriately as team leaders. This is because the modern e-business environment requires the organisation's staff to acquire the appropriate knowledge and to recognise with understanding the techniques and skills of business management and practices. Furthermore, in the organisations with shrinking resources and increasing load of work, it needs special skills to be learnt and appropriate knowledge to be acquired, which means the need for emphasis on further skills communication, management skills, early involvement in the process of knowledge acquisition and learning programmes, and moreover the skills of transferring critical skills and knowledge necessary for running the everyday work to the employees at the lower levels in the organisation (Abdelkader, 2004).
Learning and innovation is further a vital need for the organisation to perform more efficient operations and to achieve sound distinction through acquiring knowledge about the new invented techniques, whereas, these advantages can only be achieved if the organisation's staff educated appropriately and skilled professionally in the disciplines of the activities and services of the organisation (Duncan, 2004). For instance, we refer back to our aforementioned example of the Libyan Agricultural Bank, as the bank found it crucial to obtain the appropriate skills in order to handle its activities of procurements and negotiations of supplies, materials, and equipment, with various vendors around the world. It was important for the bank's staff to learn and understand thoroughly about the bank's supply chain as well as its management functions and systems of inventory control. Another important aspect of the bank's need for learning and innovation is concerning the ability to pertain effective decision making that conforms the implemented bank's laws and regulations which is a crucial requirement to cope with the modernised banking systems. The bank's staff needs to have the capability and knowledge to implement systematic thinking as an ultimate requirement to the appropriate envisagement, planning, designing, implementation, evaluation, and adaptation of the information learnt and business processes to match the organisational culture and objectives in order to achieve the high quality of services provided and hence realising the organisational goals. However the bank's evaluation study reveals that its learning needs are not only limited analysing the market conditions and accordingly design the appropriate strategies of procurement that reduce the cost of goods and improve its quality, they are rather require the establishment of processes and sustainable learning that enables the future generations to evaluate and determine the appropriate, and qualified suppliers within a competitive banking market environment which is not an easy task because the vendors have their strong and weak aspects and similarly the basic skills of organisation's staff are various. Thus, learning is needed to improve and enhance these skills, so as to equip the employees to perform their tasks properly and to contribute to their organisational prosperity.
However, in spite of the ease of accessing and acquiring the advanced means of learning, several challenges are still associated with the learning process in the organisations and their human capital. The most important challenge is the basic requirement of implementation of any new technology which is the technological literacy, where the employees should obtain a minimum level technological literacy in order to cope to run the various operations of the organisation, as the requirements of the recent life long learners in such diversity of e-learning courseware is largely built on technical qualifications rather than only desktop use. In such a way training through e-learning to the employees in any organisation is considered as the workplace e-learning. Another challenge is manifested in the requirement of huge scale public networks as the internet (Leontios and Gavana, 2003), due to the significance of computers and information systems in learning.Â However, the previous types of online learning are different of the present, since the former is computer based training that connects the students, training materials and lectures (Zwass, 1998), while the latter is computer mediated communication that links the students and teacher and engages teacher facilitation (Kearsley, 2003).
2. Online communities of practice and the organisational choices:
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The attempt here is to provide a group based learning innovation plan to contribute an alternative view of learning innovation process that does not focus only on the significance of the existing knowledge in the organisations, but to approach other online communities and sources of knowledge and to utilise the acquired knowledge to innovate. This view is mainly focusing on learning and innovation as a process of combining existing divergent collection of knowledge shared with and acquired from online communities in new ways to develop a technology enhanced group based leaning solution, as the figure below shows.
Identifying the organisation's learning needs
Refined knowledge learnt
Other production factors obtained
Under this vision, the internet and its variety of online provisions of scholarly search engines and online libraries in addition to other online sources of information will be integrated in the organisation's information system in order to expand the organisational knowledge and learning capacities without the need to store extensive knowledge in the system's database, then the acquired knowledge could be manipulated and adapted to meet the organisation's learning needs, and as such new knowledge could be produced for the staff and for the organisation to learn and innovate and in the same way the process continue. Such expansion of the organisation's knowledge capacity could be implemented by collaborating online with other organisations and sources of information in addition to learning and innovation providers such as the online training and skills development institutions to combine very diverse learning to the knowledge base of the organisation and to utilise this improved knowledge to enhance the skills of the employees so as to innovate a further developed knowledge which is capable to improve the performance and enhance the production. As such, this initiative is a process of organisational learning through proper identification of the organisation's leaning needs, and subsequently the generation of diversity of knowledge that accessed from diversity of sources via the internet through the organisation's information system, the bulk of information is then refined to extract a refined knowledge that matches the organisational goals, before being utilised to enrich and update the organisation's database and then learnt to enhance the organisational and staff's capacities, which enables both to obtain other production factors and to learn and innovate further, and as such the organisation's learning and innovation will become a cycle that produce new knowledge and new production factors (Nelarine and Ray, 2004).
The implementation of this technological initiative provides new organisational choices and has its consequences on the interactions between strategy, motivation, leadership and teams. As soon as this solution implemented the organisation should utilise the value of knowledge innovation throughout the business departments maintaining a ground for collaboration (Jenex, 2006). However, the implementation strategy must be supported by the organisational structure and the operational processes must be incorporated within the knowledge management framework, while the operational needs requires some organisational arrangements, the knowledge management system must be adapted to facilitate the implementation of the proposed solution throughout the organisation, as such, most of the operational processes should be consistent with the new initiative while restructuring the concerned departments in the organisation and identifying the proposed areas of change that include the roles and responsibilities. As such the organisational culture could be transform through the organisational change, and knowledge learnt will derive the forces of that change. Knowledge management solutions will then be leveraged through utilizing the increasing quality of skills learnt by the staff and will be strengthened by the bulk of information available at the international level via the internet, this will contribute considerable changes to the organisation's business and processes. However, for this organisational change to result in an improvement, knowledge management should be integrated into the business processes. The performance management strategy, must be motivating for the leadership and team to be strong enough to adapt to the change and to realize the improvement. Such change is expected to affect the business processes and procedures, leadership, management objectives, total quality management, workflow and communications among other sub elements of the organisation (Jenex, 2006).
Nevertheless, a positive change of tools and processes alone is not enough to achieving a successful learning and innovation strategy, since these proposed tools can not be used without people and similarly the business operations can not be performed (The World Bank Group, 2008). Therefore it is important after this initiative implemented to create an organisational behavior that supports a sustainable learning and innovation strategy, where the organisational learning should be addressed with more intellectual and practical approaches such as the promotion of the internal communications, forming multifunctional teams, and initiating learning online community in the organisation. As such learning and innovation are an integral parts of the organisational strategy and have its consequences in terms of interaction between strategy, leadership and teams. In this regard The World Bank Group (2008) stressed that the organisations should recognize the importance of learning to operate and communicate; such learning comprises intercultural and social processes of collaboration, capacity building and knowledge sharing. Thus, it should be clear for managers that the knowledge acquired by people and the ability to create new knowledge could only be achieved in a process of interaction and learning.
In this proposed learning initiative, the first stage of the organizational learning needs' identification is the crucial stage, however, it depends on how the concerned people in the organization define and identify the learning needs where their understanding and perception of this needs influence the proposed learning solution, thus, this critical first stage requires comprehensive understanding of how situations can be approached by different people and similarly how problems can be defined. Whereas, the techniques that intentionally used to identify the organisational learning needs in a new manner would be expected to result in more innovative ideas to be generated. Therefore, innovative knowledge and learning require a creative vision from the decision maker to identify the appropriate learning tool or solution. It could be argued thus that the identification of the organisational learning needs is part of a strategic learning and innovation process, where the way the learning needs have been identified influences the type of knowledge and training to be undertaken by the selected staff (Abdelkader, 2004).
The second stage of knowledge generation involves discovering more ideas to combine with the original ideas explored during the identification of needs stage, which leads to the innovation path through cross category way of thinking. However, for the innovation to be achieved the initiative must include a sort of information refinement that allows further precision of information and more conformity to the organisational objectives, while innovation achieved when allowing the original information to expand or to step forward further from their restricted indications and meanings.
It is obvious from relevant studies on such initiatives of learning and innovation solutions, that intercultural organisational collaboration can be enhanced by implementing the techniques of innovative thinking, while whether these innovation techniques are actually work or not is debatable, however, when we think about the innovation measures implemented in these studies these debatable ideas convert into perception. It is worth noting that the knowledge generation is enhanced through the use of innovative techniques, where these techniques are possibly to result in further original information instead of producing new knowledge and subsequently the produced information from this stage will be less appropriate and more original, when brainstorming or other innovative techniques are implemented. Therefore, without refinement and update and adaptation of the information and knowledge obtained, innovation techniques may fail to improve organisational innovation, although it may result in an improved original information generated in this stage of the initiative. It is thus proposed to impose the next stage of information refinement (Nelarine and Ray 2004).
It is obvious that obtaining a bulk of information in itself is not enough to support organisational learning and realise innovation, therefore, it is vital perform refinement of information through creative thinking and analytical processing, so as to create new ideas and make such information useful and innovative (Jenex, 2006).. As such, this stage involves more logical processing, so that some of the information that obtained at the previous stage and which is considered as appropriate and suit the organisational goals can be adopted and included in the organisational information system's database in order to utilise in innovating other production factors, while, the rest of the information obtained will be subject to a refinement process in order to enrich them with explanation and elaboration as well as adaptation process to meet the organisational learning needs. This information refinement stage is part of the process obtaining information and utilise in learning and innovation, where refined and adapted information generated, guiding to further steps and so forth. However, it is worth to note that innovation of new factors of production requires learning of knowledge that needs time and effort, while collaboration between organisations and intercultural learning nurturing are strategies that can be learnt and implemented at the time and they are needed (Nelarine and Ray 2004).
The previous three stages of this proposed initiative represent the basis for developing a successful learning solution with its internal consistent processes that proposed to lead to innovation. However, there is a strong influence of the organisational intercultural environmental stimuli among other chance encounters that that may affect to some extent the likelihood of innovation, in this regard, the information generated at the first stages requires more effort and processing than just to generate and assess the obtained information internally, these information should rather be further developed, innovated and implemented.
3. Learning technologies implication on intercultural organisational
The acquired knowledge through the innovative team work to implement this initiative enhanced our abilities as members of the team and individuals in the organization, as we learnt how to think collectively and produce innovatively. The initiative view is based on team work to utilise the available various sources of information as basis for the knowledge generation and to connect with divergent sources to enrich the knowledge generation and to adapt that knowledge to suit the organisational goals, this refined knowledge needed the collective effort of the group from which we learnt how to learn. This notion of team work and collective knowledge generation enabled the team innovated this initiative to perform innovative thinking and to learn how to organize different stages of work in process that aims to enhance the organisation's work and expand its knowledge and production factors. In this regard, the general organisation skills acquired are the generic skills that have been acquired by the individuals of the team who constituted an adaptable, competitive and flexible, workforce. Without such generic organisational skills acquired, our qualifications and skills as individuals would not enable us to operate properly in a coherent business environment (Chin, 2004).
It appears that the intercultural organisational learning has an obvious significant impact on the business. Technology enables and affords knowledge management supporting infrastructure and tools within the organisation, while cultural and organisational changes and innovation are essential to achieve a knowledge management strategy, whereas, the lack of the appropriate tools and technology infrastructure would ultimately lead to failure(Chin, 2004). Thus, the proposed initiative is expected to add a considerable value and measurable improvements to the organisation. In this regard, the secret of success for the proposed initiative is in its reliance on properly identified learning needs of the organisation that will be used through the process, this is because no technology product could meet all the organisation's requirement, therefore, although this initiative is proposed to contribute considerably to the organisations learning and innovation, it is important for the implementing organisation to define its knowledge management strategy clearly before implementing the solution, it needs to perform product evaluation to identify other technologies that could work alongside the solution to complement its functions to meet the organisation's needs. As such, sub elements of technology may be used such as the E-Mail, data warehousing, process modelling, search engines, management and communication tools â€¦ etc. Such integration of variety of technological methods to operate and run a solution by a team force would enrich the organisational learning and enhance the skills of the individuals in a competitive working environment, thus the key general organisational skills identified by Kimberly (2001), are expected to be achieved these skills are (Kimberly, 2001):
â€¢ Both verbal and written communication skills.
â€¢ The ability to apply mathematical and statistical operations.
â€¢ Enhancement of computer and information technology competency.
â€¢ Operating with other people including teams, customers, and competitors.
â€¢ Comprehensive analysis.
â€¢ Problem solving.
What distinguishes the intercultural organisational learning and skills acquired through this initiative is the specific and refined knowledge it comprises that has been generated from wide range of sources to support the organisational effectively in its daily activities. Such kind of learning has its implications of making teamwork interactive and provides a better response to the employees while it generates considerable knowledge and innovation for the organisation, thus, it is worth noting that the higher the level of participation and interactivity in as a team, the more learning and innovation generated by the organisation.
It is important to stress that the organisation's success is largely requires the enhancement of intercultural organisational knowledge, as such, knowledge sharing and joint efforts must be incorporated in teamwork through learning tools including conferences and discussion forums, so that some individual skills will be enhanced such as the ability to facilitate, present issues, summarize, synthesize and participate in discussions. Facilitation refers to the ability to provide information that will help other team members to perform their organisational tasks, to suggest ideas or policies, and to express the view point and vision (The World Bank Group, 2008).
There are several implications of knowledge and learning on the organisations (Kossen, 2003). The achievement of new experiences and technical know-how are among these implications, beside the benefit of getting familiar with the nature and methods of up-to-date information and technologies and its impact on improving the organisation's business. Furthermore, learning and innovation provides considerable opportunities for the staff to work collectively and interactively, it also open wide doors for collaboration among the organisations, where an online platform makes it easy to collaborate. It is evident that when learning needs are properly identified and as such the appropriate information generated according to the organisational learning, training and development gaps, the output will largely contribute to satisfying the organisation's objectives (Porumb, 2001).Â
Due to the significant role of learning in the promotion of the communities of practice, it should important to note the wide range of e-learning implementation and to recognise the several benefits it offers. Further e-learning development and prosperity and innovation are expected to take place in the future, although the use of computers can never compensate for the human resource development among other tools of skills development.Â Thus it is important to emphasise the significance of e-learning and its advantages; as e-learning has the ability to create a breakthrough in the field of organisational learning.Â However, for a successful learning, the basic rules of skills' development and its moral principles should be implemented strictly, this includes the preparation of the appropriate materials in addition to any other tools that make e-learning a successful organisational learning experience (Wasny, 2002).
In such a rapidly growing technological organisational environment, with its vast amount of information, the organisational procedures and decision should be knowledge based, as such, this knowledge can provide the economical benefit which can be transformed into new factors of production. e-learning as such, is the mechanism through which we can obtain knowledge more speedily, efficiently and timely by all the staff of the organisation who are ready to learn and implement innovative thoughts and ideas. Using electronic databases and other electronic tools to obtain information, this initiative encourages learning both at the individual employee level and at the organisational level, which in turn lead to the advancement of the work quality and the creation of new ways to innovate other factors of production. Nevertheless, what distinguishes this initiative as innovative tool of learning is its flexibility and adaptability to the type of knowledge needed by the organisation and the learning needs identified at the first stage of the process. The availability of refined and adapted up-to-date information incorporated in the organisation's information system database permits for continues learning and training to be implemented constantly, at any time to individual employees or as groups of employees as the organisation's information system allows (Hesser et al., 2002).Â
In general the current initiative is providing an intellectual solution to handle the organisational needs for learning in an advanced and appropriate way that was designed to deliver learning in a smooth and attractive way which encourages further knowledge and innovation in all the levels of the reorganization processes and procedures in such way that fulfils the organisational objectives and help in achieving its goals. However, since no initiative could be invented perfectly without some gaps or needs for further developments, the stage of information identification in this initiative along with the next stage of generating information, still requires further effort to be complimented and incorporated with processes of evaluation that mainly depend on adapted knowledge o the organisation. Another gap to be considered in the future is the determining organisational environmental factors , where a wide range of organisational environmental factors influence the utilisation of the refined information in innovation process, these factors include the style of the organisation's management and leadership, motivation and goals setting, within the organisation, group determinants factors, and the organisational culture, as the organisational culture and principles influence the innovation tendencies in the organisation, even if intellectual learning solution implemented (Nelarine and Ray 2004).