1 E-learning provision and demand in rural areas possibilities and obstacles National report, Finland Matilainen, Anne, Kattelus, Pia and Keskinarkaus, Susanna University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute, Seinäjoki, Finland
2 E-learning provision and demand in rural areas possibilities and obstacles National report, Finland Matilainen, Anne, Kattelus, Pia and Keskinarkaus, Susanna University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute Content 1. INTRODUCTION E-LEARNING PROVIDERS SURVEY OF E-LEARNING PROVIDERS SURVEY DESIGN Sample Conduct of the survey Questionnaire RESULTS Statistical analysis Presentation and discussion of findings: frequency analyses Presentation and discussion of findings: cross-tabulation analysis CONCLUSIONS E-LEARNERS AND CONTROL GROUP SURVEY OF E-LEARNERS AND CONTROL GROUP SURVEY DESIGN Sample Conduct of Survey Questionnaires RESULTS Presentation and discussion of he findings: frequency analyses Presentation and discussion of findings: cross tabulation analysis CONCLUSIONS OVERALL CONCLUSIONS REFERENCES... 69
3 Annexes Annex 1. The Finnish training providers questionnaire Annex 2. The Finnish e-learner questionnaire Annex 3. The Finnish control group questionnaire... 89
4 1. INTRODUCTION This report is produced as part of the E-ruralnet project, which is a European network project partfunded by the European Commission in the context of the Lifelong Learning Programme, Transversal projects-ict. It addresses e-learning as a means for enhancing lifelong learning opportunities in rural areas, with an emphasis on SMEs, micro-enterprises, self-employed and persons seeking employment. In Finland, education is considered a basic right and is offered free-of-charge to all people living in Finland. In addition, citizens have the obligation as well to obtain the knowledge-level equivalent to 9 years of schooling. Authorities are also required to provide education opportunities beyond the basic education and keep the charges reasonable. Since Finland has two official languages (Finnish and Swedish), education is provided in both languages equally. The ministry states a high level of education as the goal of the education policy. More than nine out of ten continue to upper secondary school or vocational training after completing basic education. Figure 1. The structure of the education system in Finland 1 Adult education is one of the key concerns of the Finnish education policy due to the aging population and the contemporary needs of the labor market. Adult education in Finland is mainly free of charge for the student and mostly government subsidized to the provider. 1,7 million people 1 read
5 participate in adult training yearly (half of the working age population) 2. About 800 institutions provide adult training in Finland. Adult education, in addition to the official education system, is offered in adult education centres, folk high schools and summer universities (these don t lead to a qualification). Adult education is also provided by employer demand. Labor market training in turn is targeted at the unemployed. The ministry states lifelong learning as the objective of adult education. Adult education in Finland, as a whole, can be subcategorized into general adult education (upper secondary schools, Folk high schools, adult education centres, music institutions, summer universities) and vocational training (vocational training institutions, continuing education centres of universities, polytechnics). E-learning in this project has been defined to include all use of electronic equipment in learning. Since the use of PC s and the internet is wide-spread in Finland, there are hardly any users with no experience of some form of e-learning. The Finnish definitions of e-learning mostly speak of a set of learning elements delivered electronically. Therefore the general Finnish understanding of e-learning might somewhat differ from the definition adopted in the project which in turn is based on the needs of also those countries with a less developed ICT infrastructure. In the provider interviews it became evident that the providers understood e-learning to refer to whole courses rather than electronic tools. This might explain the level of responses. According to the national plan for ICT implementation in education (Kansallinen tieto- ja viestintätekniikan opetuskäytön suunnitelma 3 ), Finland has recently fallen behind in the international ICT-development evaluations. In exploiting e-learning tools in education, Finland is among the European average. Many e-learning opportunities remain underutilized. There also seems to be recognized regional differences between e-learning development, and although some individuals use e-learning possibilities in innovative ways, many schools in general are lagging behind. The plan lists the main challenges for e-learning: insufficient technical infrastructure, the differences in technical capabilities between schools, not making use of appropriate pedagogical models, the quality/accessibility/distribution of material, institutional cultures, change management in schools, cooperation between schools and businesses, and finally, updating the teacher training program. This report aims to provide state -of- the art information on the current provision of e-learning, the tools and innovative methods used and existing obstacles the learners meet in e-learning in Finland. Similar kind of study has been done as part of e-ruralnet project in 11 participating countries. The aim is also identify caps between the current e-learning provision and demand and provide useful information to both e-learning providers and administrators to support the decision making. The report consists of two main parts. At first the results of the e-learning providers survey are presented. In the second part the results of the e-learners, i.e. people who have participated to e- learning are described together with the opinions of the control group representing people who have not participated to e-learning. At the end the conclusions summarizing all survey results are presented. 2 Finnish National Board of Education,
6 2. E-LEARNING PROVIDERS 2.1. SURVEY OF E-LEARNING PROVIDERS The Finnish report of e-learning providers aims to portray the status of the Finnish e-learning market by taking a look at the suppliers of the electronic courses. An identical survey has been conducted in all 11 participating countries in order to be able to compare the saturation of the market in different contexts. 2.2 SURVEY DESIGN Sample A short preliminary survey was sent out in December, 2009 to identify the correct target group. It is difficult to find specified data of Finnish e-learning providers and therefore the preliminary survey targeted to all adult education institutions with an aim to identify those with e-learning courses. The actual e-learning providers-survey was sent to all those training providers who had in the preliminary survey stated that they offer e-learning and are willing to respond. The invitation to join the survey was open and respondents were asked to circulate the in order to identify more potential respondents Conduct of the survey The jointly developed transnational questionnaire was translated from English into Finnish and posted online. The survey invitation was then sent out by in January, 2010 to 374 people in organizations offering adult education and identified as e-learning providers. Data collection was closed in December, A total of 77 respondents replied to the survey but only 42 of them completed the entire survey. Based on the amount of responses a total of 42 of the results could be considered as completed and were thus taken into further analysis. The criteria for the completed surveys were created by the University of Rostock, responsible on designing the data analyzing in the project. All providers surveys were filled in online by the respondents Questionnaire The survey was designed to present a picture of e-learning supply in each country: available products, innovative elements, funding structure, various methods and major challenges with a focus on rural SME s. The Finnish questionnaire can be found from annex RESULTS Statistical analysis The e-learning providers data was analysed jointly in the project by the University of Rostock. In the analysis the frequencies were used as descriptive statistics. In addition the dependence of responses for selected questions were tested by using χ 2 test. Frequencies of responses were calculated for each question and distribution of these (valid percent) served as the data for the charts drawn in this report. Cross-tabulations were made concerning certain questions. These results provide a general overview of the status quo of e-learning in Finland and cannot be seen as a comprehensive description of all Finnish e-learning providers. Due to small amount of data, the preconditions for χ 2 test were not met in the analysis. However, some selected results have been nevertheless presented in order to provide indications and illustrate the opinions of different respondent sub-groups. It must be noted though that these results are not statistically significant.
7 Presentation and discussion of findings: frequency analyses The presentation of this section is structured in jointly agreed 8 subsections covering the following survey themes: i. Provider institutional profile: type, size, training activity ii. iii. iv. Provider e-learning specialization and market presence Provider market: rural orientation, client priorities, sources of funding Subjects offered and qualifications v. E-learning provision: delivery mode, student participation, ICT requirements vi. vii. viii. E-learning delivery methods, tools, pedagogies Problems and requirements for success Provider perceptions of innovativeness i. Provider institutional profile: type, size, training activity n=13 n=13 Public Private Both n=15 Figure 2. The type of the e-learning providers organizations (n= 41) A slight majority, of the responding organizations were private although the numbers were quite even. 13 respondents mentioned their organisation being both private and public. Either there has been a misunderstanding in answering in questions or the organisations have different departments of which some are publicly funded and some use private funds. In general most of the Finnish training organisations are publicly funded either by the state or by the federations of municipalities and other regional actors.
8 23,1 % 15,4 % Central government 61,5 % Regional/local government Company of public interest Figure 3. The type of public organisations (n= 26) Of the public organizations that responded to the survey, most operated on a regional level, which reflects very well the Finnish situation in general. 17,9 % 10,7% Commercial company (profit making) 14,3% Non-profit company 57,1 % Foundation or other NGO Other Figure 4. The type of private organisations (n=28) Private organizations were primarily NGO s and foundations (57 %).
9 2,4% 4,9 % 17,1 % Independent education/ training organisation Operates under: University 75,6 % Operates under: Professional organisation/ federation Other Figure 5. The responses in percentages to the question Are you an independent education/training organisation or do you operate under a higher level institution? (n=41) A clear majority of the organizations were independent, which is very typical for vocational and adult education organisations in Finland. The size and training activity, including e-learning activity, of providers was measured in this survey on the basis of the number of teachers employed, the number of teachers involved in e-learning, students participating in e-learning courses during the last 12 months, and number of e-learning packages currently offered. 51,2 % 26,8 % 14,6 % <= ,3 % Figure 6. The amount of employed teachers and trainers in the respondents organisations (n=41). Over half (51 %) of the respondents employed over 100 teachers.
10 12,8 % 7,7 % 17,9 % 43,6 % <= ,9 % Figure 7. The amount of teachers involved to e-learning (n=39) Even though most of the organizations had over 100 teachers, almost half (44 %) said that less than 10 teachers are involved in e-learning. 13 % of organizations had over 100 teachers involved in e- learning. 24 % 46 % 0, over 5001 Figure 8. The amount of students instructed through e-learning courses during the last 12 months (n=37) Almost half of the respondents said that their organisation had instructed between 11 and 100 e- learning students a year. Almost a quarter had 101 to 500 students.
11 11,4 % 28,6 % 22,9 % under 25 % % % over 76 % 37,1 % Figure 9. The percentage of female students in e-courses (n=35) According to the respondents, female students are the majority in e-learning courses. 34 % said that less than half of their students were female. It is very typical that the women are majority in adult education participants in Finland. Since this survey was mostly targeted to adult education organisations, the result as such is not very surprising. 2,6 % 2,6% 5,3 % 2,6% 23,7% 63,2% over 501 Figure 10. The amount of e-learning packages the organisation offers at the present (n=38) 63 % of the respondents stated that they currently offer 1 to 10 e-learning packages and 24 % said that they offer 11 to 50 courses.
12 ii. Provider e-learning specialization and market presence As the indicators on the providers specialization in e-learning was considered in this survey the proportion of provider teachers involved in e-learning, the proportion of their training activity delivered with e-learning, and the way e-learning content was developed. 2,4 % 4,8 % 45,2 % Planning to start in the near future Less than 1 year 47,6% Over 1 year and up to 5 years More than 5 years Figure 11. The history of e-learning provision in the respondent organisations (n=42). The organizations that responded mostly had long-standing experience with e-learning. Almost 93 % of the organizations had offered e-learning for over a year and almost a half (45 %) over 5 years. Do you develop the e-learning content... within your organisation, using own resources 42,1 % 47,4 % subcontract it to an expert company or an individual both the above 10,5 % Figure 12. The process of developing the e-learning content in respondent organisations (n=38).
13 E-learning is widely developed in-house or in cooperation with an expert but rarely through pure subcontracting. 10,3 % 10,3 % 10,3 % 69,2 % 1 Up to 20% 2 21% - 40% 4 61% - 80% 5 81% - 100% Figure 13. The share of the e-learning of the total training output (n=39). Almost 70 % of the respondents stated that less than a fifth of their training output is in the form of e-learning courses. This figure indicates that the respondent have had solely e-learning courses in mind while answering, since e-learning methods are likely be used in bigger proportion of courses. iii. Provider market: rural orientation, client priorities, sources of funding 54,8 % 45,2 % Yes No Figure 14. The responses in percentages to the question Do you offer any special e-learning packages for rural areas? (n=42)
14 Most (55 %) of the respondents stated that they do not offer any special e-learning packages for rural areas. This is not surprising, since only very few of the Finnish education organisations focus solely either to rural or urban areas. Typically they offer education packages to both areas. The target group of e-learning was studied by the type of the group (fig. 15) and by the type of the company (fig. 16) At which groups do you target your e-learning courses, by priority? 100,0 90,0 80,0 70,0 60,0 50,0 40,0 30,0 20,0 10,0 0,0 Top Priority Large Priority Medium Priority Small Priority No priority Figure 15. The main target groups for the e-learning courses (n=42). Employees were the top priority to half of the respondents. The self-employed and students were the next most important target groups. The least important groups were unemployed and selfemployed.
15 At which groups do you target your e-learning courses, by priority? 100,0 80,0 60,0 40,0 20,0 0,0 Top Priority Large Priority Medium Priority Small Priority No priority Figure 16. The main target groups for the e-learning courses within companies and public sector (n=42). The providers mostly targeted the e-learning courses to public sector organizations although micro and small companies were important target groups as well. A bit surprisingly the large companies were the least important target groups. Other 10,00 % Part subsidised/part privately paid Full subsidy provided to trainees by government or EU Privately paid by trainees 45,00 % 52,50 % 67,50 % Privately paid by the employer 60,00 % 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0 % Figure 17. The funding of the e-learning courses (n=40). The e-learning courses of the respondents are primarily privately (67,5 %) funded. Half receive a full subsidy. When analysing the results of this question, it must be noticed that the respondents had an opportunity to choose more than one alternative.
16 Other 17,90 % Subsidy available from Government or EU 12,80 % Demand from individuals 79,50 % Demand from SMEs (less that 250 employees) 25,60 % Demand from large companies (over 250 employees) 20,50 % 80 % 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0 % Figure 18. The reasons to start to provide e-learning (n=39). Demand from individuals (79,5 %) was the primary reason for starting e-learning according to training providers. As Other several various things like desire to develop the training provision and education methods, ability to reach larger customer groups and changes in the processes of cooperation partners were mentioned. When analysing the results of this question, it must be noticed that the respondents had an opportunity to choose more than one alternative. iv. Subjects offered and qualifications Other Languages Other services ICT, communications etc. Tourism Technical subjects of the primary sector Technical subjects of the secondary sector Business and management 43,90 % 26,80 % 36,60 % 48,80 % 14,60 % 9,80 % 43,90 % 73,20 % 80 % 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0 % Figure 19. The subjects included to the e-learning courses (n=41).
17 Most organizations offered business and management as e-learning topics. ICT was also offered by nearly half (49 %) of the respondents. Technical subjects of the primary sector were quite naturally not often included to e-learning courses. Also tourism was rarely included to the e-learning courses. When analysing the results of this question, it must be kept in mind, however, that the general training provision of the respondent organisations can influence strongly to the chosen subjects. If the organisation does not provide tourism studies in general, it most likely will not provide them either in e-courses. Other 21,60 % Certificate of your organisation 75,70 % Recognised international certification of nonformal learning Recognised national certification of nonformal learning Formal qualification of initial or postsecondary education/ training 5,14 % 45,90 % 40,50 % 80 % 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0 % Figure 20. The qualifications available for trainees on completion of e-learning courses (n=37). Most (76 %) organizations give a certificate of e-learning participation but some (40 %) also offer a recognized national certification. When analysing the results of this question, it must be noticed that the respondents had an opportunity to choose more than one alternative. v. E-learning provision: delivery mode, student participation, ICT requirements 100 % 90 % 80 % 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0 % 33,00 % 41,00 % 94,90 % 5,10 % E-learning, selfadministered by the student E-learning, tutor assisted Blended learning (e-learning and face-to-face learning) Other Figure 21. The types of offered e-learning courses (n=39)
18 Blended learning was offered by most of the providers. Almost 95% of the respondents chose blended learning as the e-learning type offered. When analysing the results of this question, it must be noticed that the respondents had an opportunity to choose more than one alternative. Do you expect your trainees to participate to e-learning.. 2,9% Always online 97,1% Mostly offline, with online access at regular intervals Figure 22. The participation requirements for the e-learning courses (n=35). Trainees were primarily expected to participate with temporary internet access. Continuous online connection was not typically required. This indicates that the respondents have understood the Mostly offline... alternative as method, when e.g. during the common sessions the students need online connection, but not all the time during the course. The courses are typically planned so, that the students can download the material to their own computers, work with it and upload the tasks e.g. back to the learning platform. Online participation is only needed during pre-agreed sessions. vi. E-learning delivery methods, tools, pedagogies Other Mobile phones 22,00 % 22,00 % Radio programmes Television programmes 4,90 % 12,20 % Video DVDs/ CDs Websites for downloading materials 34,10 % 41,50 % E-learning platforms (eg. WebCT, Moodle) 100,00 % 100 % 90 % 80 % 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0 % Figure 23. The delivery methods used in e-learning courses (n=41).
19 All providers used an e-learning platform for course delivery. Internet-links were also popular delivery methods and 42 % utilized these. When analysing the results of this question, it must be noticed that the respondents had an opportunity to choose more than one alternative. Other podcasts 12,50 % 17,50 % E-learning communities wikis 25,00 % 40,00 % s 92,50 % Videoconferencing through web-cameras 52,50 % Blogs 22,50 % Discussion groups 87,50 % Chat rooms 47,50 % 100 % 90 % 80 % 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0 % Figure 24. The tools used in e-learning courses (n=40). Most organizations used s (93 %) and discussion groups (88 %) as e-learning tools. Video conferencing (53 %) and chat rooms (48 %) were also very popular. Podcasts, wikis and Blogs on the other hand were the least used of the given alternatives. Other 10,00 % Roles Based Learning 7,50 % attachments 80,00 % Links to Web Sites 100,00 % Audio Books 2,50 % Videos 60,00 % Simulation 12,50 % Interactive Contents / Animated contents Games Based Learning (GBL) Powerpoint Presentations Text reading 32,50 % 17,50 % 92,50 % 97,50 % 100 % 90 % 80 % 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0 % Figure 25. The pedagogical methods used in e-learning courses (n=40).
20 All organizations said that they use web-links in their courses. Other popular content were texts (98 %) and Power point presentations (93 %). Audio books were the least used contents. vii. Problems and requirements for success The providers were also asked about the main problems associated with e-learning especially in rural areas. They were also asked about their expectations from students, and the factors necessary for successful delivery of e-learning. Other 8,10 % No public funding available Limited financial capacity of rural residents and entrepreneurs No support staff in rural areas for rural entrepreneurs and employees No suitable training course materials 21,60 % 18,90 % 29,70 % 24,30 % IT illiteracy No suitable infrastructure (eg ADSL) 59,50 % 73,00 % 80 % 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0 % Figure 26. According to learning providers, the main problems associated with e-learning especially in rural areas (n=37). When the organizations were asked to name three of their top concerns, IT illiteracy, infrastructure and lack of support staff rose as the main areas of concern for rural e-learning among the given alternatives. As Other lack of time, the need for social relationships in adult education and attitudes towards e-learning were mentioned.
21 What do you expect from your e- students to successfully complete the e-learning courses? Time availability Perseverance Critical thinking Willingness to learn Self- discipline Not at all important A little important Rather important Important Very important Figure 27. According to the training providers, the most important prerequisites for the learners to complete the e-learning course successfully. Willingness to learn was chosen as a very important attribute for an e-learning student (80 %). Of the more concrete opinions time availability, self discipline and perseverance were also seen as important. According to the training providers, the critical thinking, on the other hand was seen the least important of the given alternatives. What are the most important factors for the successful delivery of e-learning by your organisation? Suitable course topics available Good marketing Planning ahead with new technologies Efficient administration Training of staff Connection to fast internet Not at all important A little important Rather important Important Very important Figure 28. According to the training providers, the most important factors in delivering successfully an e-learning course. Training of staff was considered as the most crucial thing for e-learning success. 75 % saw this as a very important thing.
22 viii. Provider perceptions of innovativeness The providers were also asked to estimate the innovativeness of their e-learning provision. Most (88 %) of the organization offer innovative e-learning according to their own opinion (Fig 29). Do you offer any new e-learning courses, which you can define as innovative? 12,5 % 87,5 % Yes No Figure 29. The estimation of the respondents of the innovativeness of their e-learning courses (n=32). The key innovative element listed was working with other students and combining individual work with discussions and knowledge change. In general it can be said that there were not seen much innovative in the technical systems themselves, rather the innovation was seen in more softer approaches to e-learning like in ways to interact with tutors and other learners. When analysing the results of this question, it must be noticed that the respondents had an opportunity to choose more than one alternative (Fig 30).
23 new ways of supporting users data-protection system online evaluation non-discriminatory or non-exclusive recruitment better access to e-learning programmes to Trainees combine individual work with Trainees communicate with other students Trainees get prompt and personalised response wikis web 2.0 mobile phones special kind of platforms GBL 10,3 13,8 27,6 47,1 51,9 40, ,4 65,7 65,5 69,0 85,7 94, Figure 30. The innovative elements of the e-learning provision according to the training providers. In the open-ended question about new ways to addressing the needs of potential users, the providers stated that since the number of adult students has risen in recent years, there is also a need to support adults with learning problems and one organization mentioned that they are especially looking into supporting adult students with Aspergren, ADHD and dyslexia. One organization mentioned that they are focusing on individualizing their education. Tutoring / student support and gathering feedback were also mentioned as a way to address the needs of students. It was specifically mentioned in the open-ended questions also that the respondents found defining innovativeness difficult. They said that it is difficult to see tutoring as innovative if they have always had it. One organization said that they see individual tutoring as innovative. Others mentioned that it is very difficult to estimate the amount of e-learning since it is a common tool among other tools. Several organizations said that in some instances all teachers use e-learning tools even when they do not implement whole e-learning courses Presentation and discussion of findings: cross-tabulation analysis The e-ruralnet partnership agreed jointly on which issues will be further studied under the statistical analysis. The aim was to have comparable information from each country. Unfortunately due to the small amount of data none of the χ2-analysis concerning Finland were valid, i.e. the data did not meet the χ2-test assumptions. The following selected figures base on simple tables presenting the distribution of the responses among the different respondent sub-groups. In additions summary tables are added to each sub chapter presenting additional similarities/differencies. The differences
24 are, however, not statistically significant, but merely provide indication of the tendencies. The following four variables were considered as representing core dimensions of e-learning providers: Provider size, measured by the number of teachers employed by the provider Provider specialization in e-learning, measured as the proportion of their training activity delivered with e-learning Provider history in the e-learning measured by the number of years the provider has been offering e-learning courses Provider rural orientation, measured in terms of their offering e-learning packages specially for rural areas These four variables were chosen jointly for country reports in all e-ruralnet partner countries. i. Providers size In general, in the Finnish data the provider s size according to the classification of the original question was not very informative variable. Half of the providers who responded to the survey employed over 100 teachers, however, in order to enable the transnational comparisons, the number of 50 teachers was used as a cut-off point in grouping the providers to large and small training providers. This provided also reasonably similar size of groups. 80 % 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0 % up to 50 teachers (n=22) over 50 teachers (n=18) up to 5 years over 5 years Figure 31. The history in e-learning markets of different size of training providers. The bigger organisations seemed to be a bit longer in the e-learning markets than the smaller. This as such is not very surprising result, since the bigger organisations typically have more resources to develop new products and service types. Neither it is not surprising that when compared the size of the training provider and the amount of e-learning students they had (Figure 32). There were also statistical difference (p=0,015, Fisher exact test, two-sided) when compared the size of the training provider and the amount of e-learning packages they offered. The larger training providers had more e-learning courses available.
25 70,00 % 60,00 % 50,00 % 40,00 % 30,00 % 20,00 % 10,00 % 0,00 % up to 50 students over 50 students up to 50 teachers (n=17) over 50 teachers (n=24) Figure 32. The amount of e-learning students in the training provider organisations within your organisation (n=18) subcontracting (n=4) both (n=15) up to 50 teachers over 50 teachers Figure 33. The development of the e-learning course contents in different size training providers. The results give some indication that the bigger training providers use more experts outside of their organisation in developing the content of the e-learning courses. The smaller training providers stated slightly more that they offer special e-learning packages for rural areas. This is probably due to the fact that the smaller organisations responded to the survey are located to rural areas, when the larger training providers are located in cities, the difference was not statistically significant though.
26 80 % 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % Yes No 20 % 10 % 0 % up to 50 teachers (n=17) over 50 teachers (n=24) Figure 34. The responses to the question Do you offer any special e-learning packages for rural areas? of different size training providers. Concerning the used e-learning tools, interestingly none of the training provides up to 50 teachers stated that they use blogs in their e-learning courses (p=0,13 Fisher Exact Test, two-sided). Also the use of video conferencing with web cameras was significantly bigger (p=0,001, Fisher Exact Test two sided) as well as using the Videos, (p=0,031), Fisher Exact Test, two sided) in the large training provider organisations. The findings of the data description presented above and their implications for the importance of the provider size of training activity dimension are summarized in the table that follows. Table 1. The summary of the results of cross tabulations Dimension Presence in e-learning market (no statistical difference) Amount of e-learning packages available (p=0,010 Fisher Exact Test) E-learning content development (no statistical difference) Rural orientation (no statistical difference) e-learning tools and methods Small e-learning provider (Up to 50 teachers employed) Less than 5 years Less courses Less in-house development More rural orientated less videos, web conferencing and blogs Large e-learning provider (More than 50 teachers employed) More than 5 years More courses More in house development Less rural orientated More videos, web conferencing and blogs The results show some clear differences between the smaller and larger training providers. However, it must be noted that the size of training provider correlates indicatively also with the experience of the training provider in the e-learning markets. This means that the difference can be caused also due to this variable. Provider specialization in e-learning
27 Demand of large companies Demand of SMEs Demand from individuals Subsidy available from government or Eu within your organisation subcontracting both The providers e-learning specialisation was measured based on the proportion of their training activity delivered by e-learning. Since almost 70% of the training providers stated that their proportion of e-learning is up to 20%, it was also used as diving point between the training providers. However, in order to enable transnational comparisons, also in some cases the e-learning proportion up to 40% has been used as a cutting point. 50,00 % 45,00 % 40,00 % 35,00 % 30,00 % 25,00 % 20,00 % 15,00 % 10,00 % 5,00 % 0,00 % e-learning propotion up to 20% (n=24) e-learning propotion over 20% (n=11) Figure 35. The content development resources for the e-learning courses based on the specialisation to e- learning. The more the training providers had e-learning, the more they also used outsider experts in developing the content for the courses. When using the 40% as a cutting point in e-learning provision, it was found out that the training providers, whose proportion of e-learning was over 40% of the total training provision, started e- learning more on a demand of the large companies than the others (p=0,04, Fisher Exact test). Between the other reasons, no statistical difference was observed. 100,00 % 80,00 % 60,00 % 40,00 % 20,00 % 0,00 % e-learning provision up 40% (n=31) e-learning provision over 40% (n=8) Figure 36. The starting reasons of the e-learning.
28 platform (n=38) Websites (n=15) DVDs/CDs (n=12) TV (n=4) Radio (n=2) Mobile phones (n=9) Other (n=8) According to the results all training providers (100%) of whose training provision was over 40% of e- learning mentioned that they give out formal qualification of initial or post-secondary education/ training. The same figure for organizations offering up to 40% of e-learning was only 45,2% (p=0,034, Fisher Exact test, two sided) 100,00 % 80,00 % 60,00 % 40,00 % 20,00 % 0,00 % e-learning propotion up to 20% e-learning propotion over 20% Figure 37. The use of different e-learning delivery methods. Also the more training providers had e-learning, the more advanced training delivery methods they used. 80,00 % 60,00 % 40,00 % 20,00 % 0,00 % e-learning propotion up to 20% e-learning propotion over 20% Figure 38. The tools used in the e-learning courses.
29 Text reading (n=40) Powerpoints (n=34) GBL (n=5) Interactive content (n=11) Simulations (n=3) Videos (n=22) Links (n=41) attachments (n=31) Role based learning (n=2) Other (n=3) 80,00 % 60,00 % 40,00 % 20,00 % 0,00 % e-learning propotion up to 20% e-learning propotion over 20% Figure 39. The pedagogical methods used in e-learning courses. The findings of the descriptive figures and their implications for the importance of the provider specialization in e-learning dimension are summarized in the table that follows. Table 2. The summary of cross-tabulation results Dimension (Question No) E-learning activity big E-learning activity small Provider type (cutting point up to 40% of e- learning provision, p=0,035 Fisher Exact test) more private organizations (e-learning activity over 40%) more public organizations (e-learning activity over 40%) Reasons for starting e- learning provision cutting point up to 40% of e-learning provision, p=0,04 Fisher Exact test) Certification level(cutting point up to 40% of e-learning provision, p=0,035 Fisher Exact test) Provider size E-learning content development Training delivery methods More on the demand of large companies (e-learning activity over 40%) more formal qualifications from e-learning courses Small provider (e-learning activity over 20% of the total output) Less in house development (e-learning activity over 20% of the total output) More advanced (e-learning activity over 20% of the total output) various reasons (elearning activity over 40%) less formal qualifications from e-learning courses Large provider(e-learning activity up to 20% of the total output) More in-house development(e-learning activity up to 20% of the total output) More traditional (elearning activity up to
30 20% of the total output) Providers history in e-learning In general the providers length of presence in e-learning markets was measured by the number of years they have been offering e-learning courses. As a cutting point for these figures 5 year limit has been used and the providers divided into two categories, those who offered the e-learning courses up to 5 years and the training providers who offered the e-learning courses over 5 years. How long have organizations that provide rural e-learning provided e-learning in general? Has provided e-learning courses more than 5 years 32 % Has provided e-learning courses up to 5 year, 68,5% Figure 40. The training providers offering special e-learning courses to rural areas (n=42). Organizations that provide special e-learning packages for rural areas, have mostly offered e-learning up to 5 years. 80 % 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0 % up to 100 e-learning students (n=19) over 100 e-learning students (n=20) up to 5 years over 5 years Figure 41. The amount of e-learning students in the training organisations within the last 12 months. The training providers, who have been longer in the e-learning markets had also more e-learning students within the last 12 months. However, this can be explained also with the company size, since the size seemed to correlate also with the history in the e-learning markets as can be seen from the figure 42.
31 80 % 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0 % up to 100 teachers (n=20) over 100 teachers (n=21) up to 5 years over 5 years Figure 42. The history in the e-learning markets of the different size of training providers. Also the longer the training organizations had been in the e-learning markets, the more courses they offer. This was also statistically significant result (p=0,013, Fisher exact test, two-sided) In the following figures the more detailed division of the organizations history in e-learning markets has been used, since it provided more insight picture of the influence of the experience in the e- learning to the tools and contents used in the e-learning courses. 100,0% 80,0% 60,0% 40,0% 20,0% 0,0% Less than 1 year Over 1 year and up to 5 years More than 5 years Figure 43. The e-learning tools methods of organizations according to how long they have provided e- learning (n=40). Organizations that had offered e-learning less than a year, used discussion groups and s more often than organizations that had provided e-learning longer. Organizations that had provided e- learning for over a year or longer used chat rooms, blogs and different kind of e-learning communities more than younger organizations. The organizations who had offered e-learning more
32 than 5 years offered more blogs than younger organizations. This result was also statistically significant (p=0,006 Fisher Exact test two-sided). On the other hand they used less than the younger e-learning providers (p=0,009). 100,0% 80,0% 60,0% 40,0% 20,0% 0,0% Less than 1 year 1 to 5 years More than 5 years Figure 44. The form of e-learning content material of organizations according to how long they have provided e-learning (n=40). Organizations that had offered e-learning less than a year used interactive content more than older providers, but a bit surprisingly no videos at all. In general, however, the newer e-learning providers had less variation in their content material than those organisations that had provided e-learning longer. Other No public funding available Limited financial capacity for rural No support staff in rural areas for rural No suitable training course materials IT illiteracy No suitable infrastructure 0,0% 20,0% 40,0% 60,0% 80,0% 100,0% Over 5 years 1-5 years Less than 1 year Planning to start Figure 45. The respondents opinions on the main challenges for e-learning in rural areas according to how long they have provided e-learning (n=37).
33 Organization that had offered e-learning less than a year, saw IT illiteracy and lack of suitable training materials as the main challenges with e-learning. Older providers felt that the main challenges were IT illiteracy and lack of infrastructure. For those planning to start e-learning the main challenges were lack of support staff and suitable course material. There was also statistically significant difference concerning the lack of suitable training material (p=0,002 Fisher exact test, two sided) when compared the training providers up to 5 years old and over 5 years old. For those training providers who had been in e-learning markets over 5 years the lack of material was not a problem at all (0%), when 9,5% of the younger training providers had listed it as one main challenge for the sector. 100,0% 80,0% 60,0% 40,0% 20,0% 0,0% Planning to start in the near future Over 1 year and up to 5 years Less than 1 year More than 5 years Figure 46. The Delivery methods of organizations according to how long they have provided e-learning (n=41). Organizations that had provided e-learning less than a year, favored websites and mobile phones whereas organizations that had offered e-learning longer used these delivery methods less and DVD s more than younger providers. Table 3. The results of cross-tabulations Dimension Rural orientation (no statistical difference) The amount of students(no statistical difference) Size of the training provider(no statistical difference) Course provision (p=0,013, Fisher exact test, two-sided) Tools and content of e- learning Challenges New provider (Up to 5 years presence in the e-learning market) More rural orientated Smaller amount of e-learning students Smaller operators Less e-learning packages available Less variation IT illiteracy and lack of suitable training material(p=0,002 Fisher exact test, two sided) Old provider (More than 5 years presence in the e-learning market) Less rural orientated Larger amounts of e-learning students Bigger operators More e-learning packages available More variation IT illiteracy and lack of infrastructure The results show some clear differences between the old and the new training providers. In fact the history in e-learning markets seems to be one of the most significant variable in defining
34 differences between the groups. However, it must be noted that the size of training provider correlates indicatively with the experience of the training provider in the e-learning markets. This means that the differences can be caused also due to this variable. Provider rural orientation Provider rural orientation was measured by asking providers whether they offer special e-learning packages especially for rural areas. Company of public interest 18 % Central government 18 % Regional/loc al government 64 % Figure 47. the division of the training providers with courses targeted especially to rural areas. Of the public organization that offered e-learning to rural areas, most operated on a regional level, which is a bit more than in whole data (61%). Has provided e-learning courses less than 1 year 5 % Has provided e-learning courses more than 5 years 32 % Has provided e-learning courses 1 to 5 years 63 % Figure 48. The history of the rural focused training providers in e-learning markets. Organizations that provide special e-learning packages for rural areas, have mostly offered e-learning 1 to 5 years. The proportion of the training providers who provided training over 5 years is smaller than in the whole population (45,2%)
35 Organizations that provide special e-learning packages for rural areas stated IT illiteracy and lack of suitable infrastructure as the main challenges related to e-learning, especially in rural areas. Other 5,6% No public funding available Limited financial capacity for rural residents and entrepreneurs No support staff in rural areas for rural entrepreneurs and employees No suitable training course materials 16,7% 22,2% 33,3% 22,2% IT illiteracy No suitable infrastructure 66,7% 66,7% Figure 49. The opinions of the organizations offering special e-learning packages for rural areas concerning the main challenges of e-learning in rural areas (n=18). Organizations that provide special e-learning packages for rural areas stated IT illiteracy and lack of suitable infrastructure as the main challenges related to e-learning, especially in rural areas. The same main challenges were highlighted in whole data as well (see page 14). The findings of the descriptive cross tabulations indicate rather weak rural- nor rural orientation typology of e-learning providers. None of the observed differences were statistically significant (no χ2 or Fisher Exact test (two sided). The indicative differences could be seen only in a few variables as the following table visualizes. Table 4. The summary of cross tabulation results Dimension Provider with rural orientation Provider with no rural orientation Geographical focus More regional focus More national focus Presence in e-learning markets Rather new providers Providers with longer history in e- learning markets Challenges IT illiteracy and lack of suitable infrastructure IT illiteracy and lack of suitable infrastructure 2.4. CONCLUSIONS There is a definite gap of e-learning opportunities for students seeking e-courses on technical subjects of the primary sector which is still a vast sector in rural areas. Less than 10 % of organizations offered subjects on this. Only a fourth (26,80 %) of the organizations offered language training via e-learning although this is an area that would seem to have great potential and demand. Especially Finnish language courses for immigrants are often full-booked and knowledge of a local language is one key to integrating to a society, especially in rural areas with limited services in multiple languages. E-learning tools for language training are also flourishing. By comparison, three
36 quarters (73 %) of organizations offer business and management training, which might be popular especially in corporate training, but seems interesting remembering that most (74 %) of the organizations started offering training based on demand from individuals. Radio and TV programs which are often considered as the traditional (even old-fashioned) e-learning are the least popular delivery methods even though from a rural perspective, they are quite reliable. The favored delivery methods (platforms and websites) are those that require online access which in turns demands adequate infrastructure. In other words, modern e-learning demands online access. Finland still has a significant number of habitants in rural areas and many peripheral areas are considered commonplace rather than a special challenge. Even the e-learning providers said in the case study interviews that course offerings are thought more from a target groups perspective rather than as a location issue although there seemed to be a consensus that rural areas face larger infrastructure challenge than urban areas. Although most of the providers stated that they do not offer any special e-learning packages for rural areas, this need not be taken as a sign of no supply for rural areas as the point of e-learning is that it is free of location. The geographical whereabouts of the students may be information that the provider doesn t have and can t reliably assess whether learning is taking place in rural areas. As for offering special content aimed at rural citizens, the Finnish population is relatively equal (living standards, key services) regardless of setting (urban / rural) and perceiving needs related to a rural population can be quite difficult. This might explain why there isn t much specialized content: the needs of the urban and the rural in Finland are primarily the same. Wikis, blogs and podcasts are still quite rarely used by the Finnish e-learning providers. Although one reason could be that their information content can be seen as unreliable (anyone can edit wikis and blogs present subjective opinions), they may also still be quite foreign from a learning perspective. Podcasts in turn would seem like an excellent opportunity to deliver e-learning content to rural areas in a reliable and low-cost way. The main challenges with e-learning were clearly perceived to be IT skills and infrastructure. The issue of IT-skills is alleviating as the younger, more IT-equipped generation is growing but the IT-skills of the adults need to be taken care of as well in order to ensure that no-one is left behind in the the lifelong learning development. Schools also need to pay attention that their ICT education providers their students with skills required to embrace the full spectrum of e-learning tools (social media, information seeking, audio) and not just focus on texts and presentations. Another remarkably underused content was audio books (2,5 %) even though they are easy to transfer, easy to take along and convenient to listen to via different media. One issue with audio books could be that the supply especially in the Finnish language is still very limited. Most of the respondents felt that inadequate infrastructure is still a significant e-learning barrier in rural areas. From the providers point of view it is easy to imagine that even though the provider and the teacher would be equipped to use more sophisticated e-learning delivery methods, they might have to select the method appropriate for the majority of students and a slow internet-connection in rural areas prevents the pleasant use of many advanced methods. There is an on-going discussion in Finland about the necessity of internet-connectivity to all citizens and its pricing policy in rural areas. From the perspective of life-long learning and based on this survey as well, it seems like a crucial question to be resolved. 3. E-LEARNERS AND CONTROL GROUP
37 3.1. SURVEY OF E-LEARNERS AND CONTROL GROUP The aim for the survey of e-learners and control group was to give the customer demand approach to the study. As e-learners were considered people, who had participated to e-learning course, and as members of the control group people, who did not have previous experience of e-learning courses. The aim has been to map out the benefits and challenges of e-learning for the rural people and also to find out obstacles for e-learning participation. The information can be used for improving e-learning provision in future as well as supporting the decision making concerning the obstacles SURVEY DESIGN Sample Both e-learner and control group surveys have been open in the project web pages. They have been freely accessible for all visitors of the web sites. In order to enhance the participation to the survey, the cover has been sent to various training organizations, with adult education courses, who have forwarded the questionnaire to their students. The training organizations were randomly chosen around Finland. The same approach was taken concerning the control group survey Conduct of Survey Both e-learner and control group surveys were opened Internet in e-ruralnet webpages. The data collection phase lasted from August 2010 to the mid March The requesting to respond to the surveys was sent out to about 90 training organizations and various network members with links to the questionnaires on the e-ruralnet project website. The surveys were promoted in different seminars and events targeted to rural SMEs or training providers. The links to both the e- learner and control group surveys were also available on the website of Ruralia Institute. The reminding of the survey was sent out twice during autumn 2010 and to the selected group also at the beginning of Since the e-survey seemed not to be successful way to reach people not participated e-learning previously at least in Finland, also printed copies of the questionnaire were handed out in Opinlakeus Fair stand and e-ruralnet workshop and in some courses of the Liberal Adult Education Centre of Seinäjoki in January February The questionnaires were then uploaded to the e-ruralnet database afterwards. In total 122 responses were got back to the e-learners survey, of these 117 was considered as completed and included to all the analysis. To some analysis all 122 responses were also used. For the control group survey 104 responses were received in total, but 7 of the respondent stated in filter questions that they have participated to e-learning course before. These responses were used in part one analysis, but not used in the analysis presented in the part 2 of the results Questionnaires The joint survey was designed by the e-ruralnet project partnership to present a picture of e-learning demand and major challenges with a focus on rural SME s. The questionnaire reflected also to the
38 Euracademy Observatory- project s questionnaire, which was implemented in The Finnish questionnaires for both e-learners as well as for the control group can be found from the annexes 2 and RESULTS The results are presented in two parts. In the first one, the descriptive statistics of the both e-learner and control group-surveys are presented. In the second one the results of the cross-tabulations are summarised Presentation and discussion of he findings: frequency analyses This part presents the findings of the surveys of the e-learner and control groups as descriptive statistics. The survey findings are presented in the form of frequency histograms and pies. The presentation is structured in 6 subsections as follows: i. Socio-economic profile of the e-learner and control groups ii. Learning experience of the e-learner and control groups iii. E-learning experience of the e-learner group iv. Constraints and motivation for participating in e-learning for e-learners and control group i. Socio-economic profile of the e-learner and control groups The socioeconomic profile of the survey respondents, e-learner group and control group, was recorded with three sets of variables: gender, age, education, place of residence and place of work, work status and sector of work. Both e-learners and control group seem to be dominated by women. This is not surprising, since the most of adult learners are women in Finland. However, this shows that the control group reflects very well with the e-learner group concerning gender. Also the education background is more or less similar in both groups. The respondents for the control group questionnaire seem to be younger than the e-learners and also lived in a bit larger towns.
39 90,0 88,1 83,2 80,0 70,0 60,0 50,0 40,0 30,0 20,0 11,9 16,8 Male Female 10,0,0 e-learners (n=118) control group (n=101) Figure 50. The gender division of e-learners and the control group. 50,0 45,0 40,0 35,0 30,0 25,0 Up to , ,0 10,0 Over 65 5,0,0 e-learners (n=118) control group (n=101) Figure 51. The age division of control group and e-learners.
40 Village up to 2000 residents Village/small town from 2001 to Large town/small city from to to Small - Medium sized city from to Larger city more than Not working Village up to 2000 residents Village/small town from 2001 to Large town/small city from to to Small - Medium sized city from to Larger city more than e-learners (n=118) control group (n=101) Figure 52. The place of residence of the respondents 40,0 30,0 20,0 10,0,0 e-learners (n=113) control group (n=97) Figure 53. The place of work of the respondents. Employment status was characterized using the Census classification. For the sector of work the distinction between private and public sector was used, together with the primary/ secondary/tertiary economic sector classification. Larger amount of persons participating to e-learning work in micro enterprises or organizations, and also in large enterprises and organizations. Of the unemployed persons, a bit bigger share study on e-learning courses. In the group of not professionally active persons there are no e-learners. Almost equal shares of the respondents in both groups work in public and private sectors yet clearly more of
41 Employed by a microenterprise/organisation Employed by a small enterprise/ organisation Employed by a medium enterprise/ organisation Employed by a large enterprise/organisation Self-employed Entrepreneur (owner of enterprise) Unemployed Not professionally active them on the public sector. It is not possible to point out any particular work sector where the respondents work because most of them have responded other services. Of those who have chosen IT-sector, clearly more are e-learners. The same goes also for tourism sector and also slightly for the primary sector, but the numbers of respondents are too small for making any conclusions. 40,0 30,0 20,0 10,0 e-learners (n=95),0 control group (n=97) Figure 54. The working status of the respondents. 80,0 70,0 60,0 50,0 40,0 30,0 public sector private sector 20,0 10,0,0 e-learners (n=100) control group (n=77) Figure 55. the work place of the respondents.
42 Primary sector Secondary sector Tourism IT, telecommunication Other services Other 90,0 80,0 70,0 60,0 50,0 40,0 30,0 20,0 10,0,0 e-learners (n=52) control group (n=47) Figure 56. The economic sector of current work of the respondents. ii. Learning experience of the e-learner and control groups The learning experience of the e-learner group and the control group was recorded on the basis of the most recent course attended (most recent e-learning course in the case of e-learners) with three sets of variables: course participation, course funding and course value. In the case of control group respondents without any continuing vocational training learning experience, their reasons for non participation in vocational training and their current interests were also recorded. Of the e-learners responding to the questionnaire, 91,2 % (n=112) had participated to continuing vocational education after their graduation. The virtual training they last participated to concerned mainly language, business and other service skills (figure x) and it s duration was mainly more than 6 months (figure x). 54,8 % of the control group had participated in previous continuing education courses. The aims for participating were mainly to improve business skills, ICT skills and skills connected with other services. The courses had been either less than a month long or over 6 months long.
43 business skills technical skills connected with the technical skills connected with the ICT skills tourism-related skills skills connected with other services language skills e-learners (n=76) control group (n=35) Figure 57. The topic of the last course 50,0 45,0 40,0 35,0 30,0 25,0 20,0 15,0 10,0 5,0,0 Up to one month More than one month and up to 3 months More than 3 months and up to 6 months More than 6 months e-learners (n=118) control group (n=56) Figure 58. The duration of the respondents last course. The information of the course was got from the Internet or from the training provider for both groups. Interestingly only one respondent mentioned that the information came from the employment office. However it must be noticed that most likely the respondents got the invitation to join the survey via the lists of their training organisations, so most likely they also have been in contact with them earlier as well. The control group members got the information mainly also via their employer.
44 I finished it during the last 6 months I finished it more than 6 months ago and up to one year I finished it more than a year ago and up to two years I finished it more than 2 years ago I m participating in my e-learning course right now Through intentional search in the Internet By chance while surfing in the Internet Through other media Through my employer Through the labour/employment Through friends, relatives, colleagues Through school/college/university 40,0 35,0 30,0 25,0 20,0 15,0 10,0 5,0,0 e-learners (n=112) control group (n=56) Figure 59. The information sources for the last course. 70,0 60,0 50,0 40,0 30,0 20,0 10,0,0 e-learners (n=103) control group (n=59) Figure 60. The time from the last training course The most of the e-learner respondents (61, 2%) finished their last virtual course during the last 6 months. Most of the control group respondents finished the last course more than 2 years ago. However, almost as big proportion stated also finishing the last course during last 6 months Concerning the course funding, e-learners and control group respondents with conventional training experience were asked about the source of funding their last course attended, and their opinion about its cost in the case they covered fully or partly the cost of that course themselves. Over a half (54,9%) of the e-learner respondents paid their own course and considered the price either reasonable (50%) or low (10,5%). 30,3 % of the respondents considered the price rather high and only 9,2 % too high.
45 Of the control group members over 40% paid the course themselves. However, also over 30% stated that the course has been paid by their employer. The most of them also considered the price of the course being either reasonable (55,3%) or rather high (26,3%) 60,0 50,0 40,0 30,0 20,0 10,0,0 My employer all of it Myself all of it Fully Mixed subsidised by funding: public funds partly myself and partly other sources e- learners (n=113) control group (n=60) Figure 61. Source of the course funding. 60,0 50,0 40,0 30,0 20,0 10,0 e-learners (n=76) control group (n=38),0 Figure 62. The pricing of the courses Concerning the value of the course, the e-learners and control group respondents with conventional training experience were asked whether they actually used what they have learned from the last course attended, or expect that they may use it in the future; and what were their own benefits from attending that course.
46 It helped me to get a job/ a new job It helped me to continue with my present job I got promoted at present job I got a salary increase I took forward my personal interests/development I have no benefits so far I do not expect any benefits at all Other Yes, I use it a lot Yes, I use it a little No, I don t use it now but I may use it in the future No, I don t use it now, but I will certainly use it in the future I have no use for it whatsoever 50,0 45,0 40,0 35,0 30,0 25,0 20,0 15,0 10,0 5,0,0 e-learners (n=119) control group (n=60) Figure 63. The respondents opinions to the question Do you use now the knowledge that you gained from that course? 90 % 80 % 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0 % e-learners (n=122) control group (n=57) Figure 64. the main motivations to participate to continuing training According to the respondents the both group use the information they got from the last course in their work. Also the main benefit of the course was seen as benefiting personal development and interests. Control group respondents without any training experience
47 45% of the control group respondents (n=47) had not participated in any form of continuing vocational training after completing their initial formal education. They were further asked why they had not participated, whether they were interested to take-up training now or in the near future and if so, how they have looked for training, and what they would like to be trained for. The main reasons for non-participation were lack of time due to job (14,9%) and family (12,8%) obligations, training being too expensive (17%) and the respondents confidence that they have all the skills they need (12,8%). Concerning the price of the training, the result indicates most likely the total price of participating training (reduction to the salary, travel/accommodation fees, course fee), not only to the course fees. The comments concerning the price of the last course (figure x) also support this assumption. I have not had the time because of family obligations 2,13 % 0,00 % 10,64 % 14,89 % I have not had the time because of job obligations 8,51 % 6,38 % 12,77 % It has been too expensive 12,77 % 17,02 % I have all the skills I need I can t get any information about training I have to travel too far to attend a course Figure 65. The reasons for not participating to continuous training after the initial education (n=57). The respondents had a possibility to choose several alternatives. However, approximately 70% of this group stated to be interested in taking part to training either now or in near future. 67,6% (n=37) of the respondents had been looking for training possibilities within the last 12 months.
48 28,8% 71,2% yes no Figure 66. The interest to participate to the training now or near future. Other Through school/college/university 40,00 % 60,00 % Through friends, relatives, colleagues Through the labour office or employment advice agency Through my employer Through other media Through intentional search in the Internet 20,00 % 20,00 % 16,00 % 68,00 % 88,00 % 0,00 % 20,00 %40,00 %60,00 %80,00 %100,00 % Figure 67. The information sources for searching the training possibilities (n=25) The most used information sources for looking for the information were internet and via the employer. The most interested these control group members were to improve their language skills. When analyzing the results of this question, it must be kept in mind that the respondents had an opportunity to choose more than one alternative.
49 language skills 48,4% skills connected with other services tourism-related skills IT skills technical skills connected with the secondary sector technical skills connected with the primary sector business skills 6,5% 9,7% 6,5% 3,2% 25,8%,0 10,0 20,0 30,0 40,0 50,0 60,0 Figure 68. The most interesting training topics according to the control group members. iii. E-learning experience of the e-learner group The e-learning experience of e-learners was studied in terms of IT skills available and IT facilities needs; e-learning delivery mode, methods, tools and pedagogies used in that course; and their assessment of that course. 70,8% were able to use internet and computer easily when registrating to the course. (Figure 69) 28,3,8 enough to use computers and internet easily 70,8 not enough to use computers and internet easily I didn t have any computer skills at all Figure 69. The e-learners ICT knowledge level, when participating to the last virtual course in percentages (n=120). 79,8% stated that the participation required broadband connection and 91,6% used the connection from home. e-learning delivery E-learning delivery was surveyed in terms of the delivery mode, methods, tools, and pedagogies used in the last course attended by e-learners.
50 48,3% 23,3% 28,3% Distance learning without a tutor (self-administered) Distance learning, tutorassisted Blended learning Figure 70. The delivery mode of the last e-learning course of the e-learners group (n=120) Approximately a half of the most recent courses the respondents participated to were delivered as blended learning. One fourth (23,3%) was purely self administrated learning courses. The most popular delivery methods were e-learning platforms and different kind of websites. As other delivery methods internet lectures was mentioned. As the delivery tools the most used ones were , discussion groups and videoconferencing by using the web camera Other Mobile phones Radio programmes Television programmes Video DVDs/ CDs Websites for downloading materials E-learning platform (moodle, blackboard etc.) 0 % 50 % 100 % Figure 71. The delivery methods of the last e-learning course of the e-learners group (n=122). The respondents had a possibility to choose more than one alternative.
51 Other Podcasts Online communities Wikis s Videoconferencing through web- Blogs Discussion groups Chat rooms 0 % 10 % 20 % 30 % 40 % 50 % 60 % 70 % 80 % Figure 72. The delivery tools of the last e-learning course of the e-learners group (n=122). The respondents had a possibility to choose more than one alternative. Of the pedagogical methods or learning tools used in the last e-learning course, the very traditional ones, text reading and power point presentations were used the most. It can also be assumed that the attachments and links to the web sites include typically also this kind of material as well as e-learning platforms. Other Roles Based Learning attachments W Links to Web Sites Audio Books Videos Simulation Interactive Contents/ Animated Games Based Learning (GBL) Powerpoint Presentations Text reading 7 % 1 % 2 % 18 % 1 % 10 % 3 % 39 % 59 % 60 % 80 % 0 % 20 % 40 % 60 % 80 % 100 % Figure 73. The learning tools of the last e-learning course of the e-learners group (n=122). The respondents had a possibility to choose more than one alternative. Assessment of e-learning experience E-learners were also asked whether the methods and tools used in their last e-learning course were easy to use and whether they considered them innovative. They were also asked whether the course covered their learning needs and what are the aspects that they would like to see improved in an e- learning course they may attend in the future. Practically all (99,2%) of the e-learners considered the
52 methods and tools used in their last course easy to use. Only 13% of the respondents considered their last e-learning course very innovative. However, 37% thought that their course was rather innovative anyway, on the other hand 43% saw their course not at all or not very innovative. Clearly the question divided the opinions of the e-learners. 0,8% 58,5% 40,7% yes, very much yes, rather Not much Not at all Figure 74. The e-learners assessment on the easiness of the used tools and methods of their last e-learning course (n=118) 41,2% 1,7% 6,7% 13,4% 37,0% yes, very much yes, rather Not much Not at all I don't know Figure 75. The e-learners assessment on the innovativeness of their last e-learning course (n=119) The most of the respondents were happy concerning their last course to fulfill their learning needs. Approximately one fifth of the respondents saw the course more or less useless concerning their learning needs. However, 76,5% of the respondents stated that they used the information they gained from the course now already and 22% mentioned that they will use the information in the future.
53 1,7% 16,7% 23,3% 58,3% yes, very much yes, rather Not much Not at all Figure 76. The learners opinion of the course meeting their learning needs (n=120) Concerning the needs for improvement, of the chosen alternatives, the respondent would appreciate more connections to other students and more support from the tutor in the future courses. They also would like to have stronger connection between the e-course to the recognised qualifications. Other 0 % Stronger connection to certification/qualifications 26 % More group-work with other students 31 % More support by tutor More modern / innovative learning tools Better content, more relevant to my needs 19 % 17 % 23 % 0 % 5 % 10 % 15 % 20 % 25 % 30 % 35 % Figure 77. Suggestions for improving the courses. iv. Constraints and motivation for participating in e-learning for e-learners and control group E-learners were asked whether they faced any constraints in getting the maximum benefit from the last e-learning course attended. Control group respondents were asked to state their views as to whether there were any constraints in attending e-learning considering in particular the area they live and work. Both groups were also asked to state their views on a number of aspects concerning e- learning.
54 other 10 % no constraints 46 % not enough self-discipline to work on my own The content of the course was difficult to 6 % 8 % not enough time e-learning is more time- 34 % no fast internet connection not enough computer knowledge and skills not a good access to the technical equipment 4 % 7 % 8 % 0 % 5 % 10 %15 %20 %25 %30 %35 %40 %45 %50 % Figure 78. Constraints for e-learning. Almost a half of e-learners stated that they did not have any constraints in participating the e- learning course. As the biggest constraint was seen lack of time. The skills or the needed equipment or internet connection were not seen as major constraints for participating to e-learning course. The control group respondents were asked whether they thought any of four aspects relating to IT skills and IT infrastructure represented potential constraints for e-learning. None of the four presented constraints were seen as very relevant by the control group members. Only the belief of IT illiteracy being widespread was seen as some kind of constraints by 13% of the respondents. The IT illiteracy is widespread 13 % 73 % There is a belief amongst people in my area that there is no need for IT skills There is no suitable infrastructure for fast internet in my area 1 % 3 % 91 % 95 % Agree Disagree Buying computer and Internet access is too expensive 4 % 92 % 0 % 20 % 40 % 60 % 80 %100 %120 % Figure 79. Relevance of given statements as constraints of e-learning. E-learner and control group views on e-learning Both the e-learner and control group were asked about their opinions on e-learning in general level, its importance especially for rural areas and their interest to participate in e-learning in the future.
55 The figure 80 presents the respondents opinions on the selected statements related to e-learning. In general the opinions are very similar. The e-learner group seems to enjoy working with computers a bit more than the control group though. As the greatest benefits were seen saving time, money and flexibility of learning. However, it seems that those, who have not participated to e-learning view it a bit more flexible than those who have experience on it. E-learning is more difficult than conventional learning (e.g. in a class) 31,7 % 27,0% E-learning is less motivating than taking a conventional training course E-learning allows me to choose anytime the place where I am learning 25,4% 39,4% 90,4% 86,9% control group (n=104) I have fun in learning with computers Allows to decide myself about the pace of my learning 37,5% 62,3% 77,9% 94,6% e-learners (n=122) E-learning saves time and money, compared to traveling to courses 94,2% 95,1% E-learning allows flexibility in timing one s training 92,3% 88,5% Using computers and internet for learning saves time 77,9% 74,6% Computers and internet make learning easier 68,3% 77,9% Figure 80. The opinions of the e-learner and control group towards e-learning. The figure presents the percentage of respondents agreeing with the presented statement. When asked about the importance of e-learning to rural areas, the e-learner group saw the potential of e-learning bigger than the control group (figure 81). Also in general level the e-learner group viewed e-learning more positively than the control group.
56 I can t judge it 10,8 4,2 E-learning is less effective than conventional training courses E-learning is neither better nor worse than other forms of learning 8,8 1,7 30,4 25,0 control group (n=102) e-learners (n=120) E-learning can revolutionise continuing education and training, especially in rural areas 50,0 69,2,0 20,0 40,0 60,0 80,0 Figure 81. The respondents opinions on e-learning and it s potential in rural areas. The respondents from both groups were also asked, whether they would be interested to participate again in e-learning in the case of e-learners, and whether they would be interested to try e-learning in the case of the control group. The aim was to map out their interest towards e-learning. 100,0 98,2 80,0 67,6 60,0 40,0 20,0 0,0 e-learners (n=113) control group (n=102) Figure 82. Interests for participating to e-learning courses Of the e-learners almost all were interested to participate to e-learning also in the future. On the other hand, of the control group less than 70% stated that they would be interested on e-learning. 85,3% of the control group stated that they had nevertheless heard of e-learning before Presentation and discussion of findings: cross tabulation analysis
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