Future of E-learning in Universities
Kineo and Intel recently collaborated to look to the future on a research project. Our modest objective: identify how 21st century universities will use e-learning to achieve their goals. We reached some interesting conclusions...
Below is a summary of the main findings of our research.
What’s happening in the EMEA Market?
It’s an interesting time to be in higher Ed with an ICT remit. We’re observing the following trends:
- France and Italy moving rapidly to 100% WiFi coverage, rapidly increasing laptop ownership and broadly deployed eLearning solutions
- Norway and Scandinavia leads Europe in VLE adoption in Higher Ed & Schools
- The commercial VLE vendors are consolidating, as we’ve covered in previous market briefings, while numerous open source vendors ramp up their competitive offerings and threaten the commercial market
- The big three are Blackboard, Moodle and Sakai (and the last two are open source). They compete on a global level
- Open University’s deployment of moodle is the largest Moodle deployment in the world with an investment in excess of £4 million
- At the next tier there are a range of country specific and regional players including dotLrn, Claroline, Fronter, It’s Learning and Dokeos
3 Reasons for E-learning in Universities
The value proposition for e-learning in universities has three dimensions:
1. Enhanced Learning/Teaching:
- Stronger Professor and Student relationships via out of classroom communication (blogs, podcasts, discussion forums, IM)
- Online, searchable and shared learning materials including assignments, lectures and media-rich content that is accessible anytime anywhere
- Individualized assessment, diagnostics, and teaching
2. Increased Organisational Efficiency:
- Relieve Administrative overhead: Deliver and hand in assignments online, less time spent grading, automated course registration and management
- Automated testing and grade tracking in addition to cheating control, e-polling in lectures, improved attendence (virtual), accurate communication of deadlines/changes via student course calendar
- More time spent teaching, less time spent managing
3. Reduced Running Costs:
Six key considerations for E-learning implementation
Universities considering adoption of e-learning would do well to consider the following issues:
1. Language Support
Moodle along with dotLRN & Dokeos have broadest language support.
2. Total Cost of Ownership (Licensing, hosting, support, development, training)
Open source solutions such as Moodle can save significantly on licensing. However, licensing is often a minority cost in the total solution
3. Interoperability with other IT systems
Integration with core systems like course registration and grading is critical.
4. Key Features
Major features are common among VLEs (course material delivery, discussion forums, online quizzes, etc). Student tracking and diagnostics and publisher content differ in among vendors
5. Skill set of University staff
Technical skill-set of IT staff (Java, PHP, Oracle, MySQL, etc) -- what do you need and what do you have?
External vs. Internal hosting – a TCO issue
6. Community Support Group (Open Source)
Who can I get help from? And from which other Universities may I benefit (code) from?
Who makes e-learning work? The faculty, stupid …
Faculty members are the single most important stakeholder in e-learning in a university – they will make or break any e-learning deployment. They sit at the fulcrum-point between administration and students. They typically do not care about university IT issues – focused on research and academic outcomes.
To make e-learning successful, Faculty must be engaged from the very beginning
Ensure both early-adopter and pragmatists are involved
- Need grass roots thought leaders in each department for 100% adoption
- A Full-time faculty support person/consultant (usually instruction designer/technologist – well versed in pedagogy and technology) will accelerate adoption
Provide reasonable material/financial rewards to faculty that embrace the system
- Hold course design contests that recognize faculty members that spend the time/effort needed to move a course online
E-learning is becoming core to the learning environment of tomorrow’s top Universities
- To compete globally institutions must improve their services to attract and maintain students
- Utilisation of a eLearning solutions is a key part in increasing & maintain student interest, interactivity & motivation
- Successful eLearning solutions require strategic planning and close partnership with faculty/professors