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Demystifying e-learning . … or why does Liverpool Hope need an active, integrated elearning dimension?. Karl Donert Director of Development, National Teaching Fellow Liverpool Hope University Intention of the session. defining and redefining eLearning

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demystifying e learning

Demystifying e-learning

… or why does Liverpool Hope need an active, integrated elearning dimension?

Karl Donert

Director of Development, National Teaching Fellow

Liverpool Hope University

intention of the session
Intention of the session
  • defining and redefining eLearning
  • what does eLearning means to us
    • managers, academics, support staff and learners
  • State of play 2006
  • Why must we be involved?
  • Some visions for the future
  • Conclusions and questions?
defining e learning
Defining e-learning
  • different definitions of elearning provide a confusing landscape
  • Rosenberg (2001) relates to a user-perspective, defining eLearning as the use of technologies
  • variety of user solutions not limited to traditional education paradigms
  • HEFCE (2005) - official view, elearning is the use of technologies in learning opportunities, encompassing flexible learning and distance learning

Rosenberg MJ (2001). E-learning. Strategies for Delivering Knowledge in the Digital Age. New York: McGraw-Hill.

HEFCE (2005), HEFCE elearning strategy,

definitions technical
Definitions - technical
  • eLearning: “Learning facilitated and supported through the use of stand alone and networked information and communications technology (ICT)*” (JISC, 2005)
  • To “…create, offer, select, manage and deliver distance learning.” (NTI, 2006)

JISC (2005), elearning and pedagogy,

NTI (2006), Northeast Technical Institution,

what is it
What is it?

“eLearning means using new multimedia technologies and the Internet to improve the quality of learning by facilitating access to facilities and services as well as remote exchanges and collaboration.”

(European ODL Liaison Committee, 2004)

European ODL Liaison Committee, Distance Learning and eLearning in European Policy and Practice: The Vision and the Reality, 17/11/04

definitions of elearning
Definitions of eLearning

“The delivery ofcontent, via all electronic media, including the internet, intranets, extranets, satellite, broadcast, video, interactive TV and CD Rom. …..

e-learning encompasses all learning undertaken, whether formal or informal, through electronic delivery.”

(LTSN Subject Centre for Health Sciences and Practice, 2005)

LTSN Subject Centre for Health Sciences and Practice (2005), elearning and Widening participation,

definitions of elearning1
Definitions of eLearning

“The component of distributed learning that includes digital content, is experienced through a technology interface, and is Internet-enabled. Collaboration is a desirable feature but not a requirement.”

(Skillsoft Academic Certification, 2006)

Skillsoft (2006), eLearning for the Knowledge Economy at the University of Texas,

what is e learning
What is e-learning?
  • Courses
  • Informal learning
  • Blended learning
  • Communities
  • Knowledge management
  • Networked learning
  • Work-based learning
what is it1
What is it?
  • Web-based learning
  • Virtual training
  • Digital teaching materials
  • Online teaching
  • On-demand learning
  • Collaborative (web-based) learning
  • Digital TV programmes
  • Computer assisted learning (CAL/CBT etc)


redefining elearning
Redefining eLearning

"If someone is learning in a way that uses information and communication technologies (ICT), they are doing eLearning.”

DfES, 2005

DfES (2005), The e-strategy: harnessing Technology: transforming learning and chidren’s services,

redefining elearning1
Redefining eLearning

“e-learning refers to any type of learning that uses electronic media.”

“It means many different things to people but is a popular media buzz word and should be avoided."

(Prof Peter John, University of Plymouth, 2005)

John P (2005), elearning strategies for transformation,

redefining elearning2
Redefining eLearning
  • e-learning = learning in which ICT is integral to its effectiveness
  • Not just websites, not only networks
  • Formal and informal learning
  • Learning as a creative process: seeing information ≠ learning
  • Key factor is degree of involvement of learner

Donert K (2005), Has Anyone Yet Worked Out What Is So Special with "e"?, eLearning Europa, European Commission Web site,

redefining elearning3
Redefining eLearning
  • eLearning is really about learning …. with an e-
  • Focus on learning not on the e-
  • e- provides an opportunity to make learning special
  • e- makes learning available for all learners at their own pace
  • not e-teaching

Karl Donert (2003)

Donert K (2005), Has Anyone Yet Worked Out What Is So Special with "e"?, eLearning Europa, European Commission Web site,

redefinition virtual learning
Redefinition: Virtual Learning
  • eLearning is really ‘Virtual Learning’
  • Includes learning in the classroom PLUS
    • Anytime, Anyplace
    • Anywhere, Anyhow
    • Available 24/7, Support 24/7
    • Management Opportunities 24/7
    • Meeting Individual Needs 24/7
  • Helping reach all learners
  • Enabling difference and diversity
redefinition virtual learning1
Redefinition: Virtual Learning

eLearning is really the transparent use of ICT in a learning situation

eLearning encompasses and integrates most other areas of a higher education organisation such as:

  • Administration and Registration
  • Content and Resource Delivery
  • Communications, Monitoring
  • Assessment, Recording and Reporting
  • Recruitment and even Alumni

and …

redefinition virtual learning2
Redefinition: Virtual Learning
  • Significant opportunities for interaction (Zell, 2001)
  • Development of social skills - cooperative problem solving, teamwork and collaborative activities (Simms, 2000)

VL includes the organisation of:

  • The actions of individuals, their approaches and reflections and
  • Complex collaborative activity involving interchange within the learning community
  • High order learning – critical thinking
what does this really means to the university
What does this really means to the University?

Accepting the HEFCE definition …..

  • eLearning touches on and is facilitated by a huge range of processes
  • not just the learning interaction
  • To demystify eLearning, we must assess what it means to:
  • The Manager?
  • The Teacher?
  • The Learner?
what does elearning mean to a manager
What does eLearning mean to a Manager?

Although eLearning allows good classroom practice and independent learning opportunities, many of its major benefits happen behind the scenes.

Remember, eLearning touches upon and is facilitated by a huge range of processes from registration, support, contact, feedback not merely the learning interaction

what does elearning mean to a manager1
What does eLearning mean to a Manager?

Some of the issues that eLearning could help overcome:

  • Monitoring
  • Student, family, university links
  • Community and industry links
  • Remote Subject Specialism
  • Distance (physical and other)
  • Change
  • Special cases and special needs
what does elearning mean to a teacher
What does eLearning mean to a Teacher?

Effective Learning is the Teachers objective:

  • What learning experiences should take place?
  • Analyse audience
    • Who are the learners?
    • What are their characteristics?
    • Needs? Styles? Interactions?
  • From transmission to transaction
  • From independent learner to the inter-dependent learner
  • Analyse context
    • Best approaches - blended? Synchronous or asynchronous? Integrated with needs?
  • Analyse content
    • What information? Which topics? How sequenced? How supported?

Holistic, reflective approach to development

what does elearning mean to a learner
What does eLearning mean to a Learner?

from the perspective of learners:

  • Flexibility – the time, place and pace of learning
  • Responsive teachers – interactive, responsive, available, negotiated response times adhered to
  • Quality of materials – well designed, interactive, up-to-date, fast to download, easy to read, easy to navigate, good visual design

Flexibility Through Online Learning: At a Glance: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER),South Australia, 2002

elearning or e solution a whole university approach
eLearning or e-Solution? A Whole University Approach

essential to have an e-solution

  • joined-up approach to the use of ICT (with learners at the centre)
  • focus on the elements of e-solution
  • their interactive relationships with one another
  • for all (learners, academics, managers, others)
  • must provide an eLearning policy and a coherent plan for its implementation
state of play
State of play
  • powerful currents
  • affordable technologies
  • information culture
  • integral part of UK society today
  • new kinds of students – different needs
  • Government strategy - policy

Donert K (2005), The state of e-learning in the UK, Report for the European Commission, Brussels, Directorate General Education

state of play uk government
State of play - UK Government
  • strategic objectives to strengthen the competitiveness of the UK HE system
  • promote strong and efficient elearning systems
  • funding relates to achieving (national) strategic objectives
  • Lambert Report (2005) extensive strategy for the future of elearning
  • HEA main national portal for professional development and support
  • HEFCE committed to embed e-learning – priority in White Paper (DfES, 2003)

DfES (2003), The future of higher education: White Paper, R (2003), Lambert Review of Business-University Collaboration: final report, Norwich, HMSO

who is doing elearning
Who is doing elearning?
  • Americans, Australians ….
  • The Open University
  • Some big and powerful universities
  • New breed of ICT-savvy people
  • Large public and private sector companies, corporations and professions
    • Health Service, Insurance, Banks, Lawyers, Business
    • EuroDisney University, McDonalds University
  • Commercial organisations (B&Q, Tesco)
  • Museums and libraries

What about us?

state of play elearning 2005
State of play – elearning, 2005
  • widespread activity of elearning in education
  • interactive computer-based approaches
  • innovation in technology, learning design, and learning pedagogy need to intersect
  • learning tools increasingly interactive, distributed, and collaborative

Donert K (2005), The state of e-learning in the UK, Report for the European Commission, Brussels, Directorate General Education

state of play elearning 20051
State of play – elearning, 2005
  • Organisations and regions supporting e-learning (e-cities)
  • large businesses have embraced elearning – banking, insurance, transport
  • professions also – NHS, lawyers, increasingly education
  • e-education increasingly with external agencies – companies, public/private sector, lifelong learners, FE, adult education, schools
  • partnerships and development

Donert K (2005), The state of e-learning in the UK, Report for the European Commission, Brussels, Directorate General Education

why isn t elearning happening in he
Why isn’t elearning happening in HE?
  • commitment and organisational structure
  • a lack of understanding of elearning impact
  • willingness and ability to invest (what are the actual benefits – can we cost them?)
  • competing resources – staff time and rewards (research –vs- teaching in HE)
  • lack of skills in the area (those that ‘can do’, but what about the rest and what is the motivation for them ‘to do’?)
why isn t elearning happening in he1
Why isn’t elearning happening in HE?
  • Lack of examples of appropriate models for using e-learning to improve campus-based learning
  • Lack of infrastructure within universities and
  • Uncertainty (among decision makers) as to the pedagogic effectiveness of e-learning

Hence the establishment of a national 10-year strategy

elearning priorities for higher education
eLearning priorities for higher education
  • e-learning is what HE students expect today
  • Ageing HE workforce lacks IT skills and fears technology
  • Education leaders must drive e-learning forward
  • Government has a role in funding, standards and quality
white paper the future of he
White Paper: ‘The future of HE

‘HEFCE will now work with partners on plans to embed eLearning in a full and sustainable way within the next ten years’

hefce 2005 elearning strategy
HEFCE (2005) elearning strategy

Aims to:

  • help the sector to embed e-learning, making the HE system more student-focused and flexible
  • enable institutions to meet the needs of learners and their own aspirations for development
  • support institutions in the strategic planning and change management needed to underpin their development of e-learning
  • promote learning research and innovation that begins with a focus on student learning rather than on technology
  • support lifelong learning by joining up HEFCE's strategy with those of other sectors of education. (HEFCE, 2005)

HEFCE (2005), eLearning Strategy,

hefce strategy making it happen
HEFCE strategy: making it happen
  • Government 10-year elearning strategy to integrate e-learning into higher education has been established to transform the learning experiences of students
  • NOW: £33 million in capital funding will be available to universities and colleges to support investment in e-learning.
  • SOON: £8 million - 'pathfinder' projects to embed e-learning in institutions individually or through collaboration, and to provide case studies from end 2006 (
  • JISC funding for infrastructure and technical development

HEFCE (2005), eLearning Strategy,

hea approach
HEA - approach
  • HEA helps higher education to use new technology as effectively as it can
  • becomes a 'normal' or embedded part of activities
  • institutional support - in their strategies
  • lead the development of research and evaluation to improve the quality of the student learning experience
  • subject and staff development, promote good practice, provide quality information, advice and resources
  • major new initiatives recognise the urgent need for in-depth pedagogical research
  • through major funding = National Teaching Fellowship projects, next phase of CETLs, other projects
why do it
Why do it?
  • very strong political will
  • centralised intention to encourage higher education practitioners and institutions to fully integrate elearning into their regular operations
  • in a national and regional infrastructure
  • support for those designing, researching or managing the implementation of eLearning in Higher Education
  • issues of pedagogy, sustainability, curriculum design and quality to be seriously addressed
  • central to the whole lifelong learning system
visions who for what for
Visions: Who for? What for?
  • Who for?
    • Need to be very clear from start
    • How is it elearning useful?
    • And for whom?
  • What for?
    • How will it be used?
    • What are the ‘real-world’ outcomes?
    • What are the implications?
what can it offer
What can it offer?

“the innovative exploitation of Communications and Information Technology (C&IT) holds out much promise for improving the quality, flexibility and effectiveness of higher education.”

Dearing, 1997

Dearing R (1997), The Dearing Report: Higher Education in the Learning Society, HMSO

visions hefce
Visions … HEFCE

By 2010…

“Courses, programs, and supporting services are delivered using appropriate digital technologies and are tailored to individual student needs”

HEFCE (2005), eLearning Strategy,

elearning european initiative
eLearning: European Initiative

eEurope 2010

2010 European Higher Education Area

21 st century learning
























People Development

21st Century learning

A new learning paradigm

CISCO 2001


Personalisation and choice

Flexibility and independence

Opening up services

Staff development

Collaborative partnerships

The aims of our 21st century system…

  • Personalise teaching and learning
  • Include the hard to reach groups
  • Open up a more flexible system
  • Improve efficiency and effectiveness

will need the contributions ICT and e-learning can make, to…

Laurillard D (2005), E-learning policy informed by e-learning research,University of Manchester, 30 November

fantasyland prof john taylor 2003
“Fantasyland”Prof John Taylor (2003)
  • In “fantasyland” universities are typified by the hierarchical, bureaucratic academic structure
  • the provision of services to students is inhibited by the unavoidable internal focus on compartmentalized thinking, personal agendas, fragmented objectives, overly complex procedures
  • “Clicks and mortar are not enough!”
  • Gary Hamel (2001) necessity for “habitual and radical innovation”

Taylor JC (2003), Managing on the edge of chaos,

Hamel G (2001), Leading the revolution, Barnes and Noble, New York

visions for e learning
Visions for e-Learning

e-learning WILL

  • transform the learning landscape
  • establish learning communities (Rheingold, 1998)
  • form communities of practise (Wenger, 1999)

eLearning is very suited to our students


  • understand the power and potential
  • integrate and embed approaches throughout
  • support and promote e-learning champions and programs
  • acquire new eLearning-related skills
visions for e learning1
Visions for e-Learning

Visions MUST contain:

People: Researching and defining the Target Audiences

Product: Clearly defining The Product

Place: Where learning takes place?

Price: Quantifying the cost and value

Promotion: Publicising activities and achievements

Barriers: Assessing the resistance to change

  • eLearning not a mystical or unattainable objective
  • happening already
  • it happens wherever technology can be used to make a difference
  • using simple techniques it is an achievable objective
  • using effective and joined up, integratedapproaches it can be very successful