This study examined the perceived differences in satisfaction among employees of various age groups in corporate learning environments. Kulik (1994) found that learners reported higher satisfaction when e-learning is an element of the-learning process, and the literature shows a relationship between learner characteristics and measures of satisfaction. However, the relationship of these factors to the individual age groups is an area that has warranted further examination.
Learner-satisfaction in relation to e-learning has been found to be of importance in the development of computer-based training (Soles & Moller, 2001). To examine the relationships among training, technology, and age, this study looked at such demographic variables as type of organization, job, age, and e-learning experience. This study was based on Wang's (2003) theoretical construct of e-learner satisfaction (ELS), which he defined as, ...a summary affective response of varying intensity that follows e-learning activities, and is stimulated by several focal aspects, such as content, user-interface, learning community customization and learning performance. (p. 77)
One research question guided this study and one hypothesis was tested. Research Question 1 was, Are older participants in corporate training sessions more or less satisfied with e-learning than younger participants? Hypothesis 1 was, Younger participants would report significantly higher levels of satisfaction with e-learning than will older participants.
To maximize the sample size, the study focused on the overall responses to e-learning as a medium, not responses to a single example. This quantitative study used both descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze the data.
An on-line, cross-sectional survey of E-Learning satisfaction (ELS) developed by Wang (2003) was used to gather data. The 24-item instrument was designed as a closed form and divided into two main sections: demographic and e-learner satisfaction questions. The satisfaction questions were divided into four sections: learner interface, content, learner community, and personalization. The sample was 237 English-speaking employees who have taken e-learning format courses for training within a corporate training environment.
The results were analyzed using analysis of variance to determine what, if any, significant differences existed. Analysis of variances (ANOVA) for e-learning satisfaction (ELS) mean scores and generational group were calculated. The ANOVA test for the ELS mean scores revealed no significant mean differences with a mean squares of 0.460, f = 1.31 and p = 0.121, (p < .05). Based on these findings the hypothesis was not supported.
However, this study points to three areas where there is room for development and improvement across all generations with regard to e-learning satisfaction. These three areas include: content autonomy, personalization, and learning community accessibility. Current and developing technologies are already addressing these elements. Conversely, implementation into corporate learning environments appears to be lagging behind many learners' expectations.