Ethos Community

As a technology-integration-in-education advocate and co-founder of myVLE.com learning management system, I had the opportunity during the past few years to research the main hindrances to e-learning adoption, with a particular focus on institutions that have tried and failed at their e-learning adoption attempts. Instructors, administrators and decision makers have been very generous to us with sometimes surprisingly candid feedback. I would like to share with you below some of the main challenges they faced and invite you to share your own experiences and proposed solutions.

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At myVLE we consider e-learning as a core element of the learning ecosystem. This interdependent ecosystem includes instructors, administrators, decision makers and content. Of course one could identify other important elements, but let’s focus on these as foundational.  

No matter the power of the technology, if one or more of the other four components do not support e-learning, then its adoption, success, and sustainability is at risk. In many institutions where e-learning has been long introduced, all the supporting components have developed a level of maturity, and it is no surprise that trying to replicate the success of established e-learning solutions in new environments, such as developing nations, without taking into consideration the entire ecosystem often leads to dismal outcomes and frustration.

At myVLE we understand this important fact and strive not to replicate, but to redesign and revitalize the education space. This can only start by identifying and understanding the challenges facing the key individuals in making e-learning come to life.

Content - Existing Key Challenges:

  • The lack of e-learning content that is aligned with the local institutions' varied curricula
  • The high production costs and time to produce custom content
  • The high cost and learning curve to deliver and use existing quality content

Instructors - Existing Key Challenges: 

  • Most of the work instructors do on e-learning platforms normally takes place outside of class-room time, which can be viewed as non-compensated time
  • Many instructors consider their teaching content as one of their most important assets. They do not feel secure sharing it online, especially not for free
  • Some are too intimidated by the prospect of the effort needed to adopt and deploy new technologies and methodologies 
  • The above and other reasons often inhibit instructors from not adopting e-learning or even resist efforts.

Administrators - Existing Key Challenges: 

  • In institutions that have not yet adopted e-learning, decision makers are faced with shrinking budgets and as such rarely consider hiring new human resources to manage the new platform/solution to be deployed, nor do they typically compensate the existing administrators for the additional work load they will take on
  • Administrating an e-learning solution is often a complex and challenging work that goes beyond existing duties and when things go wrong it is often the administrators that take the blame
  • Taken together combined with other reasons, this creates a deterrence to adopting e-learning solutions

Decision Makers - Existing Key Challenges: 

  • Education is increasingly being run as a business, even when many argue it is not a business. As such, any new spending that is not absolutely necessary and might negatively impact the annual budget will make the decision makers think first in terms of return on investment. In other words: "would spending this amount of money on this solution allow us to cut operational costs or increase our earnings?" if the answer to that question is "NO" then the chances of the solution being adopted drop significantly 
  • There are also high risks associated with trying new solutions. These risks can come with real life consequences such as losing one’s job. This often creates a risk-averse environment in which decision makers may make choices in their personal best interest, not in enhancing or growing innovative approaches. 
  • Again, just two of the many issues

We are convinced that any effective, scalable and sustainable solution will have to offer seamless support and strengthen all aspects of the educational ecosystem as well as incentivize those critical in the success of the endeavor meaning the instructors, administrators and decision makers. 

Looking forward to your reactions,

Kamal

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To learn more about myVLE, please visit our website at www.myVLE.com

You can also watch the following videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbiHpkO-ZKc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv2UXjT2XSQ

 

 

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Very well summarized - and much more "charge-neutral" than I would have been able to produce, especially considering what is going on with the potential confirmation of our controversial president's most recent Cabinet nomination for America's Secretary of Education currently!!!  Kudos.

I would like to add a couple of challenges for at least some of the students: hyperfocus and distractibility - in other words, attention management.

Since the pre-frontal cortex - the part of the brain that coordinates Executive Functions and mitigates impulsivity - doesn't fully mature for 20 years or more, the population that would be challenged would be far greater than those formally diagnosed with attentional issues.

As you are already no doubt aware, if there is a "gateway" to the rest of the internet universe, students will use it for many activities other than on-task exploration to add to their learning.  Once distracted off-task, ole' hyperfoe is lying in wait to keep them at it for hours - to the detriment of their educational objectives (and practically everything else).

With my clients and students, I frequently advise them to "stay off the slide" as a protection mechanism (similar to the oft-heard advice taken from a popular book title, "Never check your email in the morning"). 

I have no solutions to propose, but it IS something to consider.

xx,
mgh
(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie - ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
- ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder -
"It takes a village to educate a world!"

Very interesting and thoughtful post Kamal! Unforunately I don't have time to say much in response now. I will try to get back some time soon.

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