n South African Computer Journal - Tensions in the adoption of e-Learning in the mining industry of South Africa : research article




The mining industry in South Africa contributes significantly to the national economy. Training is an important component in these environments and e-Learning is often used to train the large workforce. In the face of current labour unrest and job cuts in this sector, it is foreseen that e-Learning might play an increasing important role to upskill the remaining work force. However, it appears that low motivation and resistance to e-Learning exist amongst learners. The aim of this research was to examine the factors that may contribute to this resistance and/or adoption as perceived by e-Learning managers and practitioners. An interpretive approach was used to conduct two case studies. Activity theory was used as the theoretical lens and its main elements (tools, subjects, rules, objects, community) were used to analyse interviews with participants from two mining companies. Potential contradictions or tensions were identified in order to explore resistance to e-Learning. The main findings indicate that:

  • proper communication of expectations by different stakeholders of e-Learning is imperative,
  • top management support for e-Learning should stem from integration into the organisational goals,
  • quality content is a necessary condition for successful adoption,
  • more attention should be given to interaction between learners and facilitators and also between learners,
  • a focus on people development rather than only compliance may lead to lower resistance, and
  • top management support and involvement should be made visible.
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