Factors influencing the acceptance of online training and qualifications in IT Departments in KwaZulu-Natal.
Online learning is one of the fastest growing internet resources in the world today and it is expected to become the third most common use of the internet after email and searches. However, whilst the spend on online learning is in the tens of billions of dollars in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, is this true in South Africa in general and in KwaZulu-Natal in particular? In order to understand the attitude and factors influencing the use of online learning in KwaZulu-Natal, a sample of decision makers was selected from relevant companies in KwaZulu-Natal to provide responses to an online questionnaire. Their responses helped to understand the factors that affect the acceptability of online learning and qualifications in IT departments in KwaZulu-Natal. Relevant companies were identified as those companies that were of medium to large size and had a staff complement of at least one hundred people. The size of the company relates to the total staff complement, not just the staff who make up the IT department. Relevant respondents were also identified as those people who were decision makers within their business with regards to the recruitment and training of IT staff. As limited research has been conducted in KwaZulu-Natal this study was a pilot study using a purposive sample of approximately fifty participants. Respondents were encouraged to suggest other possible candidates to answer the questionnaire. All in all, invitations to complete an online questionnaire were sent to fifty five participants. Of the fifty five participants invited to take part in the study, forty five started the questionnaire and thirty nine completed it. Although there were six people that did not complete the questionnaire their answers to the questions they did answer were deemed relevant to the study and were included in the result set. In analysing the responses of the sample it is interesting to note that online learning is still quite unknown in KwaZulu-Natal. In fact, although the respondents were all decision makers in their organisations, some of them had not considered the use and benefits of online training within their organisations. There also seems to be a systemic misunderstanding of what online training is. One of the main goals of this study was to ascertain what can be done to increase the awareness and understanding of (not necessarily the use of) online training in KwaZulu- Natal.