This paper reports on research-in-progress designed to understand adoption and diffusion of e-learning (EL) among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in northern Italy. The research takes as its organizing framework the concept that diffusion of an innovation to a group of organizations reflects a match between demand and supply, and augments that framework by reference to Rogers’ (1995) model of the processes of adoption and diffusion of innovation in organizations and the IS literature on adoption by individuals. The first two, exploratory stages of the research are completed. They identified that EL is not widely diffused among the firms of interest. In part, this reflects relatively low participation in all forms of training, but it also reflects low awareness of EL, difficulty in identifying and evaluating products and services on the market, and a perception among non-adopters that EL is costly and they do not have adequate ICT infrastructure for it. In the final stage of the research, focus groups were conducted with both SMEs and EL suppliers to identify the extent to which these groups (demand and supply) have a shared understanding of the nature of EL and its potential.
Bielli, Paola and Klobas, Jane E., "eLearning and SMEs: Do Demand and Supply Speak the Same Language?" (2003). ECIS 2003 Proceedings. 14.