Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Butler, Rebecca P.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment


Professional education; Internet in education; Employees--Training of--Computer-assisted instruction


This study explored the process of the diffusion of online education strategies in corporations. It determined that the adoption and implementation of online professional education strategies occurs in accordance with diffusion of innovations theory as described by Rogers. Key elements of the diffusion of innovations theory were used to identify the ways online learning is being integrated into business environments. The study consisted of semistructured telephone interviews with 14 professionals in the field of professional education with experience introducing e-learning strategies in corporate contexts. Participants in this study identified as stakeholders in the process everyone associated with facilitating the initiative or affected by it. This definition included corporate leaders and strategic planners, subject-matter experts, hardware and software experts, and instructional designers, as well as course participants. Also included in this definition were associated human resource personnel involved in course management. This study examined the influence of corporate cultures and change management strategies on professional education initiatives. Participants observed that corporations with histories of successful change and that actively seek new solutions were more likely to introduce the innovation successfully. This study found that evaluation methods of online professional education are still being developed and vary widely. There are not yet general standards or definitions of success. In some cases, success is defined as simple participation in a course. Finally, this study demonstrated the applicability of the diffusion of innovations theory to improve understanding of the process of the adoption and implementation of online professional education. This study showed that the theory provides a structure for examining the key dynamics of the topic.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [388]-395).


xiii, 447 pages




Northern Illinois University

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