Transforming workplace English in distance education: Exploring e-learning preferences and experiences in the digital age




digital age, distance education, e-learning, learning management system, ODeL, workplace English


In transforming digital progression in professional contexts, effective communication and career growth hinge significantly on mastering workplace English. Despite the increasing reliance on e-learning tools as a promising alternative in higher education, there exists a dearth of research focusing on individual preferences and experiences, particularly within distance education. This article fills this gap by conducting qualitative research firmly rooted in the community of inquiry theory. The primary objective of this study is to scrutinize the efficacy of e-learning tools and highlight factors that influence the preferences of first-year students engaged in distance education. Some key considerations encompass flexibility, interactivity, personalized learning, and accessibility. The research methodology involves observation of various e-learning platforms, in-depth interviews, and open-ended evaluation questions with first-year students who speak English as a second language in a South African open-distance e-learning university. The findings highlight an inclination towards virtual classrooms and customized online modules. Noteworthy aspects highlighted by participants include the significance of collaborative learning, real-world scenarios, continuous feedback mechanisms, and the integration of adaptive technologies. The significance of this research lies in its contribution to the advancement of distance education, which specifically focuses on workplace English skills. This research expands on distance education and provides specific implications for enhancing e-learning practices and their pivotal role in guiding the future workforce.

Author Biographies

Zuleika Suliman, University of South Africa

Zuleika Suliman is a Junior Lecturer in the English Department at the University of South Africa. She has a passion for language and writing and has won the Mont Blanc Award for writing. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Applied English Language. Her research interests include Business English, e-learning, and Distance Education.

Kershnee Sevnarayan, University of South Africa

Kershnee Sevnarayan

Kershnee Sevnarayan obtained her PhD from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. She has 14 years of teaching experience and has published her work both locally and internationally. She is a senior lecturer in the Department of English Studies at the University of South Africa. She is also a Shanghai Open University visiting scholar. Her research interests include academic writing, technology-mediated teaching and learning, and pedagogy in higher education.


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How to Cite

Suliman, Z., & Sevnarayan, K. (2024). Transforming workplace English in distance education: Exploring e-learning preferences and experiences in the digital age. Journal of Research on English and Language Learning (J-REaLL), 5(1), 36–54.