What is the role of technology in Human Resource Development? Identify some key forms of e-learning and critically evaluate their advantages and disadvantages, providing appropriate examples from organisations.
This essay will identify and discuss the role of technology in Human Resource Development. It will define what Human Resource Development is and why it needs technology. Also it will discuss what electronic learning (e-learning) is, and will explain some key forms of e-learning and why we need to use e-learning.
It will give a brief indication as to what technology actually is, and also the progression of technology. The essay will critically evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using e-learning in Human Resource Development. There will be appropriate examples used to show how different organisations use e-learning within their company/organisation.
Finally it will offer conclusions as to why I think technology should or should not be a part of Human Resource Development.
Technology is used in nearly all organisations these days including schools, companies and universities as examples. What people may not know is what it actually means. Technology is a branch of knowledge that can deal with the creation and the use of technical means and their interrelation with life, the environment and society. Technology draws upon subjects such as industrial arts, applied science, engineering and there are many more. Technology can be seen as a process or an invention of something. (Technology, N.D)
Technology is always progressing and this is very good for companies who need or even sell technology. If we look at how a few years back within companies the secretary would need to file documents manually and this could take a long time, also apart from the time issue there were more serious problems like documents going missing or being damaged. This is where technology began to progress because there was a new technology progressing and this was the database and this could hold all the documents you needed safely onto the computer and that way it would be a lot faster and more secure for the secretary to file the documents. This is just one example there are many more ways in which technology has helped to progress companies. The example given here is just to show that technology is progressing and it will keep progressing much further in the future years to come.
Human Resource Development
Human Resource Development is all about learning, training, developing and education the employees in the workplace. There is a difference between these four concepts but there all correlated. If for example we looked at learning; this can be learnt anywhere and you can be learning yourself the new skills, but on the other hand if you looked at education you are being taught something but in a formal way but the two are linked because from both of these you are learning new skills and then you can go on to training and developing them skills.
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HRD was not always known as this, there was a shift from welfare officers to HRD. HRD was initially set up for training and development and this was to help the employers in crafts such as electricians, or engineers as an example and from this they would be learning from their masters and will be developing their skills to be able to perform in the workplace. HRD created an integration of people management and development and this could become CIPD which stands for the chartered institute of personnel and development.
HRD likes to be strategic and is more for the organisation than the employees; it is also a long term method to help to build the company. HRD does like to implement change into their methods and this is why e-learning will be very convenient to help within organisations because it is constantly changing and this change would help employees improve on their learning and training and will be able to implement new skills within the workplace.
What is e-learning?
Firstly before I go into detail about how e-learning helps HRD perform you will need to know what e-learning actually is. E-learning used to be known as computer-based learning, this is basically what it still is, it is a way of learning but on a computer or even these days there is even m-learning which is through the mobile. We need e-learning in everyday life to be able to adapt the required skills in education, employment, even at home. It can be defined as any learning activity supported by information and communication technologies which is known as ICTs. There are arguments out there concerning the labels, an example of this is whether ICT-based learning is the same as e-learning, we can gather information from the world wide web channel and this would be our online materials, but we can also get materials from this intranet would could be confused as being from the world wide web but instead this material is delivered through an internal network of personal computers. E-learning is in fact taken to mean any form of electronic technology which can support learning this can be opposed to the chalk and blackboard technology which used to be the main form of learning.
E-learning comprises all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching. To implement the learning process the information and communication systems will serve as a specific media. It is essentially the computer and network-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge. The applications and processes will include web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classroom opportunities and also digital collaboration. The contents can be delivered via the Internet or even from an audio or video tape. E-learning can be self-taught or even instructor-led, this can be done in groups or even individually, it can include media in the form of text, image animation, video streaming and audio. (e-learning, 2010)
What is the purpose of e-learning?
The purpose of e-learning is to advance and develop people¿½s skills. This is why it is so important to HRD because the aim of HRD is to learn, train, develop and educate people; this is exactly what e-learning does for people. Without e-learning I think people would be under developed with skills and this may not help them progress into a work place. E-learning can help to increase teacher effectiveness and will also improve the learning of the subject matter. With HRD I think trying to teach people new subjects can be quite tedious and this could be off putting for them involved and this can decrease their knowledge levels and even cause them to lose a job because they haven¿½t got the right skills needed for the job, this is where e-learning comes in with HRD because it makes the learning more relevant for them involved and helps them to become more interactive. E-learning now changes the way that people were taught new subjects because before people were being taught on a ¿½I will write out the subject and you will go away and learn it¿½ basis, but now computers are involved and people can teach themselves and this is the whole purpose of e-learning and it helps HRD to perform better. (Churchill, 2010)
Have you used e-learning? What was your experience?
I have used e-learning before, I am actually using a tool of e-learning now and that is Microsoft Word. I am constantly using this to complete assignments for my university work and I can develop my skills using this because there are so many different options within word for me to be able to expand my learning; an example of this would be to add a page number instead of doing this manually I can select an option to do it automatically. Another tool of e-learning that I use regularly is Facebook, I use this to keep in touch with friends and family and there are also applications on their which can help me towards education or my occupation. I am always very happy using e-learning and a lot of the time I actually prefer to use e-learning because I find it more interactive and detailed and when I learn this way I find that I actually want to learn because I don¿½t get bored and uninterested in the subject.
Different forms of e-learning
There are a number of different ways which e-learning can be presented. The main two forms of e-learning are; traditional e-learning which is based on highly produced web courses and there is rapid e-learning which is based on the name rapid because this is quickly produced web courses. In addition to this there are also two types of Rapid e-learning which are asynchronous and synchronous. Asynchronous is mainly student directed and at a self-paced learning which can come under the learning concept for human resource development. Synchronous is at a set time which could happen in an internet classroom session as an example and this could again come under the education concept for human resource development because education can be taught within a classroom for example. With these two forms of e-learning there are not specific types of companies that should choose between traditional e-learning and rapid e-learning. It just simply means that some projects are best suited for either one of them.
Traditional e-learning ¿½ the content of this is more fixed and it rarely changes, it is also generic and has a long shelf life. However it does need a large budget in order for it to be put into action.
Rapid e-learning ¿½ the content is rapidly changing and is updated quite frequently, also it may not be generic or have a short shelf life. The budget for this way of learning is limited or non-existent. The information is very hot topic and is just in time. (Readygo, unknown)
In order to use traditional or rapid e-learning correctly you will need to use different tools which are available. Traditional e-learning developers will use ¿½Power User¿½ tools. These are specifically designed for graphics artist, web designers, programmers, and instructional design experts, and this will be useful for any persons working in these sectors and will help to develop human resource development. Rapid e-learning which is typically used in small or medium enterprises will need tools that can produce interesting multi level courses but do not require a graphic or design background. This easiest tool which can be used is Power Point. (Readygo, unknown2)
Different types of e-learning:
As well as different forms of e-learning there are also a number of different types. I think depending on the workplace and the HRD set up within the workplace it does not matter what types of e-learning you use, it will be the type of e-learning which is best suited for the organisation. Below I will just list a couple of examples of e-learning:
¿½ You tube
¿½ Google search
¿½ Power Point
¿½ Microsoft Office
¿½ Pb wikis
This is just a small example just to show that there are a number of different kinds of e-learning, and also to show that they vary also. There are number of different applications from Microsoft office to Firefox. Each of these applications however does play an important role for human resource development, and will help to implement skills for people. (Hart, 2010)
An example of an institute using e-learning to develop HRD is Bangor University. Bangor University implement a lot of e-learning to help their students develop their skills. The main type of e-learning which is used by the university is Blackboard. This is has been brought into the mainstream of teaching and learning activities within the university. It is one of the most central systems which are not only used by the students but also the lecturers also. Within blackboard the lecturers are able to integrate presentations which contain both audio and video content onto the online courses. This will then go on to develop online questions and test provisions which will simultaneously drive learning activity and reduce marking workloads. Also included with Blackboard is the use of online discussion forums in supporting the development of learners and understanding and this can become useful for HRD because students can be educated by other students or even lecturers by submitting questions onto the forum as an example.
Another example of e-learning which the university use is webmail. This is the emailing tool of e-learning in which students, lecturers, support staff or whoever is involved with the institute can communicate with one another or even with people outside of the university. (Bangor University, unknown)
Tesco is an example of a company which also use forms of e-learning within the workplace. Tesco was looking into developing an Online Academy which was going to be a new learning portal which hopefully in the end would eventually serve the learning needs of over 400,000 staff across the global businesses. Their aim was to develop a cost-effective solution, Tesco would be partnered with Kineo to design and also deploy learning based on Moodle. During 2009 Tesco piloted its Academy Online portal as a proof of concept for a learning management solution and portal for their staff across this business. Tesco wanted explore alternatives with open source technologies, with doing so they saw a potential to make highly customised solutions with a strong focus on the user experience. Tesco chose Kineo to design and develop the portal solution based on the experience they had at combing user experience and web design. This was to make it easier for their staff to understand how to use the portal easily and in a way in which they were able to extend their skills when working for Tesco, also it was to help them to manage and update the software easily. (Kineo, 2009)
There are many advantages towards e-learning. The advantages are as follows:
¿½ The work can be scheduled around personal and professional work.
¿½ It can be cost effective because it can reduce the need to travel.
¿½ It gives the users the option of selecting the learning materials which will meet their level of knowledge and interest.
¿½ If an organisation wanted to organise a study session it can be studied wherever they have access to a computer and Internet.
¿½ E-learning is self-paced which will allow learners to work at their own pace
¿½ There are a number of different learning styles which are addressed and facilitation of learning occurs through varied activities.
¿½ An important advantage is that e-learning can build self-knowledge and self-confidence and can also encourage the learner to take responsibility for their learning.
¿½ E-learning is very good for communication because with online portals such as Black Board the users can contact their tutors or even students very easily.
¿½ Interaction can also be an advantage for e-learning because some people may feel less confident talking face-to-face, but with e-learning there are some aspects where you can interact with someone without being face-to-face.
¿½ E-learning can be time flexible; learners are able to access everything they need in one place at any time so long as they have the Internet.
¿½ More people are able to afford to use e-learning, this can then go on to gain them a place at universities as an example because they can save money from expenses such as travelling, accommodation and even high fees for tutors.
There are many advantages that come with e-learning, and all these advantages will play a role in human resource development. Also it will help to play a part in a user¿½s everyday life and will help them to progress their learning, training, development and education. (writing, 2006, unknown, 2008)
As well as advantages there are a number of disadvantages which come with e-learning. Below I will list a number of disadvantages:
¿½ There can be some learners who are unmotivated can because of this their poor study habits may fall behind.
¿½ E-learning is very different from any other kind of learning and this may affect the learners knowledge due to lack of familiar structure, also the will then make the routine longer to get used to.
¿½ E-learning can be a lonely way of learning which could leave the learner to feel isolated or even miss social interaction.
¿½ If you required further instructions the instructor for the course may not always be available on demand.
¿½ A lot of e-learning can be carried out online, however this may be useful for some but for others the can be frustrating due to slow or unreliable Internet connections.
¿½ Face-to-face communication can be vital to how someone learns and because of the lack of this there can be a lack of understanding between the learner and the instructor.
¿½ There is a limited amount of time for e-learning if you were using video conferencing as an example, and this could lead to the teaching being rushed and the learner not being able to learn enough.
As you can see from the above there are some disadvantages, however there are fewer disadvantages than there are advantages. The disadvantages can however help human resource development because they can learn from this and try and avoid the disadvantages and use this to their advantages. (Writing, 2006, unknown, 2008)
In my opinion I believe that the role of technology in Human Resource Development is very much needed. I believe that along with technology the main form of this is e-learning and with my own personal use I think that this is very much need in order for us to be able to develop HRD. With e-learning you can learn so many new skills which can help you too improve in the workplace. However there are a couple of disadvantages like the lack of face-to-face communication which can affect how e-learning is used.
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