AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE UPTAKE AND BENEFIT OF VIRTUAL LEARNING NETWORK OPPORTUNITIES IN THE SMALL BUSINESS TOURISM SECTOR - RIKON Group

Matthews, Josephine and Kelliher, Felicity and Holden, Mary.T (2009) AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE UPTAKE AND BENEFIT OF VIRTUAL LEARNING NETWORK OPPORTUNITIES IN THE SMALL BUSINESS TOURISM SECTOR - RIKON Group. In: International Conference on Tourism Development, 11th - 14th September, Kos, Greece.

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Abstract

While there is a growing interest in learning networks, relatively little research has been published with a specific tourism focus. Thus, this paper is concerned with tourism learning networks (TLN) and the role of virtual learning environments (VLE) in sustaining member viability following facilitated TLN interaction. The authors investigate user adoption and uptake of Fáilte Ireland2’s VLE, commencing with a comprehensive literature review, relating to virtual learning network (VLN) environments, and resulting in a VLN framework for a small firm environment. A mixed method approach enabled the authors to comprehensively uncover quantitative measurements with qualitative insights through the use of key informant interviews, census questionnaire, click stream data analysis and semi-structured interviews. Findings classified the nature of the network in both physical and virtual capacities, through the identification of modes of communication, level of membership, intentions to seek advice, make contact and contribute within the networking community. In terms of VLN usage, time was identified as the lead barrier to using the VLE, followed by a lack of training, and a low usage level among TLN members. Furthermore, findings suggest that while participants are willing to seek advice and share information, most felt they made only limited contributions to the VLN community. From a theoretical perspective, this research offers a framework for VLN facilitation in the tourism sector, and indicates the necessary dimensions involved in promotion of interactive learning online. The study also provides an in-depth analysis of participants’ perspectives in relation to virtual collaboration (activity, barriers, and adoption levels), participants’ perspectives in relation to the TLN support structure, and any underlying behavioral mediators, that may be responsible for poor VLN activity.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments or Groups: RIKON (Research in Inovation, Knowledge & Organisational Networks)
Divisions: School of Business
School of Business > Department of Management and Organization
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2010 09:36
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2016 10:26
URI: http://repository.wit.ie/id/eprint/1461

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