Integrating online learning into workplace information systems: supporting the goal of lifelong learning

Lachlan M. MacKinnon, Liz Bacon, Olaf Hallan Graven, Jan Velvin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper focuses on the issues caused by the major skills gaps in STEM industries identified in the popular press, and confirmed through empirical research, and the changes to the workforce occasioned by the growing tide of automation. Both of these issues have a similar result on the STEM workforce, in the need to upskill and reskill staff to be productive in the changed landscape brought about by these issues and the accelerating pace of change through technological development. Fundamentally, the authors argue that there is a need to change the existing model of workplace learning to integrate learning as an integral component of the workplace, rather than an activity that takes place separate from that workplace, often in a separate location. By integrating learning environments and resources with the primary information systems in the workplace, and enabling "drill-down" capability to link specific working issues with relevant learning resources, staff efficiency can be improved, better solutions can be developed, and acquisition of skills and knowledge can be improved. The authors provide an example of a working solution, in the tourism domain, from the Tourism Monitor project, which provides both an exemplar and some practical lessons that are relevant to the STEM industries. The Tourism Monitor dashboard provides statistical information collected by the Norwegian government on a number of key tourism datasets, providing information to support the management of tourism services and service organisations. By linking it to an instance of the Sakai VLE, and through that to learning materials developed by the project partners and the local University College,staff development can run alongside the creation and management of tourism services. The authors suggest that a similar model could be used for workplace learning in STEM industries, referencing their own work on developing online learning for collaborative heavyweight processes, such as dCCD, as reported at LACCEI last year. The model developed is novel and built from a considerable body of prior research, and provides an answer to the research question “How could the model of workforce education be changed to ensure the supply of IT and engineering skills in the workforce keeps up with demand?”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Partnerships for Development and Engineering Education
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 15th LACCEI International Multi-Conference for Engineering, Education and Technology
EditorsMaria M. Larrondo Petrie, Humberto Alvarez
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780999344309
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event15th LACCEI International Multi-Conference for Engineering, Education, and Technology: Global Partnerships for Development and Engineering Education - Boca Raton, United States
Duration: 19 Jul 201721 Jul 2017


Conference15th LACCEI International Multi-Conference for Engineering, Education, and Technology
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoca Raton


  • Online learning
  • Workplace learning
  • Lifelong learning
  • Integrated working and learning environments


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