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Professor Mark Stiles
Head of Learning Development & Innovation
Staffordshire University was an early adopter of eLearning on an institutional scale and had been very successful both in terms of "penetration" and in embedding eLearning into the policies and business processes of the University. However a couple of years or so back it became apparent that: the rate of change was slowing, the use of the VLE-based eLearning provision was becoming if anything less, rather than more innovative, and the the very act of embedding had become a barrier to innovation. This lead to research into the "tensions between innovation and control" culminating, following considerable internal consultation in the development of a new five-year "Technology Supported Learning Strategic Plan" focused on meeting the University's business goals via a process of diversification of the tools and systems used and an approach focused on sustaining innovation and meeting the needs of an institution delivering offerings covering flexible, work-based and negotiated learning as well as more conventional courses. This talk will cover the background, genesis and adoption of this new approach, and describe the various approaches, many focused on communities of practice, and others designed specifically to diversify delivery and support, which are being used and developed. The "whole" is now being drawn together in the new JISC ENABLE project, funded under the Institutional Approaches to Curriculum Design programme.
Or, how I got old and my beard turned grey working in “eLearning”
So from 2002 – 2006…
Designed to address/achieve:
flexible and independent learning; informal and individual learning
equity of opportunity and alignment of student support
a learning environment encompassing all of the learning experience
supporting the independent and lifelong learner and CPD
access to eResources from point of need; repurposing and reuse
robust quality assurance/enhancement, but with scope for innovation and employment of professional skills
encouragement of research, scholarship and development in eLearning
appropriate staff development, to ensure understanding of others’ roles
practice, policy and strategy are responsive to lessons learned and new opportunities; removing barriers that impede or restrict effective eLearning
resources and support are appropriate to requirements and understood
eLearning embedded in Strategies e.g. Information, LT & A
eLearning Policy “should” act as change enabler
Operational Policies, Processes and procedures being aligned eg Quality Assurance, WBL
Rate of increase of use high but mainly eSupported or “mundane”
Mainstream possibly now less innovative than before
Still problems with processes not aligned
Policy focus seen by some as “Stalinist”
Enthusiasts “subverting” policy
“Everyone” starts out with a eLearning strategy - either stand-alone or embedded in another strategy
Strategies tend to be about introducing or extending eLearning & e-Environment not their “normal operation” - ie they are “Objectives” driven
Once objectives are attained, the focus tends to move elsewhere…
all policies, procedures, roles and responsibilities pertaining to the use of eLearning are fully integrated – not just with each other, but with those applying to “normal” practice.
eLearning is part of the culture of the institution, and is seen by all as part of normal working practice, and as part of the normal portfolio available to facilitate learning by teachers and learners.
excessive hierarchy and over-heavy bureaucracy, the comfort of ingrained routines, strong vertical command structures and weak lateral and bottom-up communication, unbalanced and non-integrated authority across professional domains, conservatism and risk aversion, territoriality, defensiveness and insecurity as well as wilfulness (Middlehurst, 1998)
The individual experts may be highly innovative within a specialist domain, but the difficulties of coordination across functions and disciplines impose severe limits on the innovative capability of the organization as a whole. (Lam, 2005)
Hefce eLearning Strategy 2005 30
Harnessing Technology: Transforming Learning and Children’s Services 22
Towards a Unified e-learning Strategy 26
In our ever more successful attempts to embed technology inlearning:
Are we in danger of engineering and regulating innovation out of our professional practice and business processes?
The last revolution, the one before that, and the one before that, all failed because we made the same non-technological mistakes each time. It's time to notice those repeated errors, learn from them, and escape the cycle of failure.
Ehrmann, Stephen C., (2000) "Technology and Revolution in Education: Ending the Cycle of Failure," Liberal Education, Fall, pp. 40-49
SURF MIS Systems
Tools & Systems
eLearning Models/ Evaluation of TSL
Negotiated & Flexible Learning
Reuse of Content
What we don’t need more of:
Some current initiatives:
Employer engagement and WBL
Innovation in practice
Core data and CRI