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Strategic management for eLearning

Tom Prebble works mainly with the tertiary sector around strategic management for eLearning. I saw him present at a conference a couple of years ago and came across the notes I made. Many of the questions he suggested should be addressed are still true today, as are some of the key points he covered - no matter which sector of education you are in.

Prebble stated that his research and the framework he has developed with Andrew Higgins was “To encourage institutional leaders to consider the contribution they need to make to the strategic development and management of eLearning in their institutions”, especially as there is not much research about strategic eLearning and management.

The key questions (paraphrased) posed are:

  • What are your strategic reasons for using eLearning?
  • What questions should I be asking about the ‘solutions’ that I am being asked to adopt / resource?
  • Will the institution / cluster / students / teachers suffer if we don’t have it / don’t do it?
  • How are they reflected in your investment plan and your learning and teaching plan?
  • How should you organise and manage for eLearning?
  • Who should be responsible for what and how should their efforts be coordinated?
  • Where is the leadership for eLearning exercised in your organisation? (Cluster?)
  • How should eLearning be resourced within the organisation / cluster?
  • Who makes the decisions about which courses and programmes will make use of eLearning and how will they do so?
  • Should eLearning be outsourced?
  • Should we be collaborating with others in our eLearning efforts?
  • What are the pros and cons of outsourcing / collaborating?
  • What are the implications for staff load?
  • Can our teachers manage this technology by themselves?
  • Do teachers want to work with support staff?
  • Is the eLearning solution robust? Scaleable?
  • What sort of disruption will / could the technology cause? (positve and negative)


The questions above are categorised and summarised in this document.

Ning Workshop - Oct2009Image by hazelowendmc via Flickr

  1. “You never enough money to do all you need / would like to do”
  2. Decisions at the programme level not at the individual course level
  3. Involve the teachers in these decisions
  4. Do it as a whole or “you don’t bother”
  5. Avoid - ‘I have a solution...now what was your problem?’ scenarios
  6. More about figuring out where the institution / cluster is going
  7. Encourage the staff to help develop some of the questions and answers / solutions around implementing eLearning

All of these questions and points are worth considering in the context of Daniel Pink’s TED Talk on motivation where he discusses aspects such as incentives and creativity that in turn help innovation flourish - where the focus isn’t visible time on the job. Perhaps, therefore, technology and the ability to free up location-specific work places, may enable alternative incentives for educators, that in turn nurture their motivation to embrace alternatives to the ‘delivery of information’ model that Eric Mazur discusses.
Back to SchoolImage via Wikipedia

Part of the work Tom Prebble and Andrew Higgins did for Ako Aotearoa involved the development of a series of case studies, which offer insights about how different institutions in New Zealand have implemented eLearning, and some of the ‘lessons learned’.

Image at top of the page: Group of young people in training course. cc licensed (BY NC) Flickr photo by SalFalko: https://www.flickr.com/photos/safari_vacation/9354798641/

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