Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Jules Beck

Committee Member

Vicki Dieffenderfer

Second Committee Member

Kenda Grover


E Learning, Human Resource Development, Restaurant, Small Business, SME, Training


Small businesses account for a majority of U.S. jobs and play a vital role in the economy. However, the survival rate for small businesses is disconcerting. Only half of the small businesses will survive five years or more and one-third ten or more years. Fast food restaurants are part of the food and drinking industry. It is the second largest industry in the United States and the most vulnerable to business failure. Research has shown the capabilities of small business managers can play a significant role in the success or failure of a small business, but little research has been done on the use of E-learning in acquiring those capabilities. The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the perceptions of E-learning of management trainees. The research sample consisted of ten management trainees at a fast food franchise in Memphis, Tennessee. The findings suggest that prior experience had little to no influence on E-learning perception, hands-on or on-the-job training is the preferred method of learning, learner preparation and support were inconsistent, and some trainees had no idea and others only guessed why E-learning was being used. The overall assessment of the E-learning training was that participants found value in it, but many learner engagement improvements are needed. Based on the study findings, there needs to be a proactive effort by organizations and training staff to address the engagement and E-learning adoption issues when management trainee preferred learning style is hands-on learning.