Development and Learning in Organizations is an International Journal that covers organizational behavior, information sciences, and human resource management. The journal targets modern managers who want to guide their companies’ development. In addition, it investigates academic and non-academic sources to stay current on the best ideas and advancements. As a result, significant implications are presented to readers in reviews and comments that are easily comprehended.
In this context, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated online learning. However, there is little understanding of the effects of offline and online work-based learning on business education. Therefore, this study aims to review the literature on online and offline work-based learning in business education published in Development and Learning in Organizations between 2019 and 2022. The results of this study can present a better understanding of work-based business learning and offer new insights for future studies.
Online and Offline Work-based Learning in Business Education
Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed every aspect of life, including education. The most crucial development in this discipline was the conversion to online and other forms of remote learning to reduce the spread of coronavirus. To date, there has been little agreement on this change’s effects on the education process. According to the independent author of Increasing learning capacity (2022), some believe that it will not significantly influence teaching and learning. On the other hand, Cohen (2022) argued that online education is already changing, especially in teachers’ roles. When technology is employed in teaching, the teacher serves as a guide rather than a manager.
With the evolution of online learning, there are increasingly more suggestions for changing current pedagogical approaches. It results not only in the alterations of the role of the educator but in the contemplation of the indispensability of that role at all. Many believe that learning is to occur smoothly, and the teacher’s presence is not necessary for that to happen (Cohen, 2021). Moreover, Cunningham (2020) suggested that a new educational paradigm, one that gives students a chance to assume responsibility for their learning, is to be established to prepare them for working in the real world. In this line, Demetriou et al. (2022) found that individual learning is essential for the occurrence of Organizational Learning. Organizational Learning is the assembled knowledge of a Learning Organization, which is the ultimate organization of the future. As one can see, research is mostly focused on the transformation of the educational system through the emerging practices of online learning. However, there is a gap in the literature when it comes to the interrelationship between online and offline forms of learning in business education.
This study aims to offer a critical discussion of the current literature to investigate the effects of online and offline work-based learning in business education before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, this study adopts a systematic review on the topic by selecting papers published in Development and Learning in Organizations. As a result, 10 articles from 5 volumes and 14 issues published between 2019 and 2022 were chosen for closer investigation. The focus was on the specific time period of 2019-2022 for the study to be as current as possible and deliver relevant viewpoints for the current situation in the world. The authors read all the selected papers and considered each one from the point of view of discussing each of the categories: current educational system, online learning, offline learning, work-based learning, and business education. After that, the author was left with a selection of articles that, in the aggregate, covered all these categories.
Analysis and Results
After exploring the articles selected for this literature review, it has been discovered that there is a number of different methodologies adopted in them. Upon categorizing these methodologies, it has been estimated that three studies employed quantitative techniques, four employed qualitative methods, and three used the author’s viewpoints. In quantitative research, Wang et al. (2021) resorted to a field experiment and two studies – by Aboobaker and Zakkariya (2020) and Demetriou et al. (2022) – used surveys. Concerning qualitative studies, three of these, all by independent authors – By the seat of your pants (2019), Increasing learning capacity (2022), and Increasing learning effectiveness (2020) – are literature reviews. The fourth one, by Roy et al. (2020), used multiple focus group sessions. Finally, three of the articles – by Cohen (2021), Cunningham (2020), and Marques (2019) – are viewpoints that feature no research and, therefore, no methodology. Overall, in these papers, the authors discuss the topics of interest to them and reference other researchers’ works.
Discussion and Future Insights
This section provides a brief discussion of findings and suggestions for future research.The most prominent finding to emerge from this analysis is that business education lacks work-based learning. Young people are not educated to operate amid uncertainty and chaos, where they must think quickly and handle difficult situations. The independent author of By the seat of your pants (2019) states that critical event modeling stimulates and improves learning, and including such activities in MBA and executive programs would advance business education. These activities would help build an innovative work behavior: the deliberate development, introduction, and application of new concepts and ideas. According to Aboobaker and Zakkariya (2020), innovation depends on a person’s willingness to adapt, which is influenced by digital learning orientation. Therefore, active learning using technology improves one’s innovative work behavior, which is needed in a modern workplace.
Moreover, it is important to note that work-based learning is essential at all stages, even when formal education is over. For example, Roy et al. (2020) highlighted the importance of training for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Moreover, there is evidence that proper training positively impacts SME employees’ productivity and attitudes. However, such training is hard to implement, and, therefore, Roy et al. (2020) suggested a cost-effective, readily available digital learning framework: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) combined with free videos. In their study, the use of such a method was found to help organizations meet their learning needs. According to these data, we can infer that technology once again proves its superiority as a tool for organizing teaching and learning settings. In contrast, the independent author of Increasing learning effectiveness (2020) supposes that combining formal and informal approaches would be the best solution. The grounding is that learners can get the best of two worlds with any proposed model that includes both types of learning.
One interesting finding is that informal approaches – both offline and online – still prevail when it comes to changing the world for the better via learning and training. For instance, Marques (2019) argues that to accelerate the pace of reducing inequality in the world, one must begin to reduce it in their community and, therefore, in the organizations to which one is related. The researcher proposes that business educators be at the forefront of such a change by filling their courses with interdisciplinary approaches. It would ensure that students are well acquainted with their communities’ problems, help them transcend self-centered and purely profit-based boundaries, and lay the groundwork for constructive social change. Consequently, after joining organizations, these individuals are to have a morally sensitive and equity-based attitude, which is likely to eventually become an insurmountable force leading to massive change.
The current study is based on an extensive review of ten articles published in Development and Learning in Organizations between 2019 and 2022. This review was conducted to attempt to better understand the interrelationship between online and offline forms of work-based learning in business education. Articles mostly explore the transformation of the current educational system with the help of digital learning, work-based learning in multiple contexts, and the approaches business education should employ. However, none of these papers speak directly about the interrelationship of online and offline work-based learning. The most reasonable conclusion from this literature review is that combining the best online and offline approaches allows learners to gain various skills, which are possibly beneficial for current/future work. Further research on the topic is needed for more definite conclusions.
Aboobaker, N. and Zakkariya, K.A. (2020) ‘Influence of digital learning orientation and readiness for change on innovative work behavior: reflections from the higher education sector,’ Development and Learning in Organizations, 34(2), pp. 25-28. Web.
‘By the seat of your pants: experiential learning and leadership’ (2019) Development and Learning in Organizations, 33(4), pp. 33-35. Web.
Cohen, J.A. (2021) ‘A fit for purpose pedagogy: online learning designing and teaching,’ Development and Learning in Organizations, 35(4), pp. 15-17. Web.
Cunningham, I. (2020) ‘A new educational paradigm for the 21st century’, Development and Learning in Organizations, 34(2), pp. 5-7. Web.
Demetriou, G., Papageorgiou, G. and Efstathiades, A. (2022) ‘Effects of learning style and learning source preferences on organizational learning capability, Development and Learning in Organizations, 36(2), pp. 14-17. Web.
‘Increasing learning capacity in higher education institutions: towards more effective crisis response strategies’ (2022) Development and Learning in Organizations, 36(2), pp. 34-36. Web.
‘Increasing learning effectiveness in an SME context: how problem-based learning can help’ (2020) Development and Learning in Organizations, 34(3), pp. 35-37. Web.
Marques, J.F. (2019) ‘Flawed organizational purpose? Changing the narrative in management education and practice’, Development and Learning in Organizations, 33(5), pp. 24-26. Web.
Roy, S., Bhattacharya, S. and Das, P. (2020) ‘Learning clusters, MOOCs, free videos and organization learning: a case study from Indian SMEs,’ Development and Learning in Organizations, 34(1), pp. 16-20. Web.
Wang, X., Lin, W., Jiang, Y., Wu, Y., Liu, Y. and Zhou, W.-Q. (2021) ‘Active learning and instructor accessibility in online talent training: a field experiment in China during COVID-19’, Development and Learning in Organizations, 36(1), pp. 14-16. Web.