Motivational Challenges of Engineers Participating in an Online Upskilling Program


  • Greta Braun Chalmers University of Technology
  • Miitta Järvinen Department of Education, University of Jyväskylä
  • Johan Stahre Department of Production Systems, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg
  • Raija Hämäläinen Department of Education, University of Jyväskylä



online learning platform, motivation, upskilling, industry, Engineering Education


The present powerful surge of available online learning platforms will provide employees with enhanced opportunities to rapidly develop their skills, regardless of time and place. Despite the potential, there are challenges for participants on online learning platforms to finalise the courses they engage in. The reasons for the high number of students dropping out before completion of the course are motivational, social, and technological. Studies show that large skill gaps exist among industry employees worldwide. It is often caused by the implementation of new technologies, digitalization, as well as increasing requirements on sustainability and resilience. E-learning provides a major opportunity to bridge such skill gaps. Thus, the flexibility offered by online learning platforms can be of high value for upskilling of industrial employees. This paper describes a study on the skills and learning processes of engineers in industry, participating in a national Swedish upskilling programme. The programme offers online learning modules, provided by 13 collaborating Swedish universities. The paper proposes a method for understanding underlying challenges in the participants’ motivation and their module completion rates. The questionnaire “HowULearn”, developed by Helsinki University, has been previously validated at several universities, consistently delivering a valuable understanding of student learning and motivation. To accommodate the methodological needs of this study, the questionnaire was adapted for an industrial context, investigating motivational challenges of learners on the Ingenjör4.0 platform. The primary outcome of the study is a framework for analysing learner challenges related to motivation within e-learning contexts. Further, this paper suggests a way of utilising the HowULearn questionnaire for participants on the Ingenjör4.0 online learning platform, to understand their challenges. The adapted questionnaire was tested with participants of the platform (22 respondents) and the results were analysed by identifying participant challenges. The outcome and conclusions of this study will improve the Ingenjör4.0 online learning platform but can also be used generically, to improve other e-learning environments.