I'm thrilled to see this question. Too often people 'dive into the detail' to add ICT solutions to problems they have not made clear. A strategy is a very important first step.
Here is some draft work we have done at the Institute for Work Based Learning (IWBL) at Middlesex University: http://www.elearning.mdx.ac.uk/research/#ICT_strategy
And.. my experience has been in the 'human systems' of this type of situation.
Change management must be factored into your plans.
Hope this addresses you question - and I'm happy to talk more at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 07771 99 87 99
Dr. Anthony 'Skip' Basiel
Thank you for your input to the question of what an elearning strategy should include. I have listed a number of resources in my handout for tomorrow's sessions and have included comments and a link to your work.
To answer one of David's questions - and a key one, for my money - I would hope that early adopters have moved past a point of having an elearning strategy. That they have a learning strategy of which elearning is an unremarkable part. In fact, it might even be possible, in the current economy, to argue that learning should form an unremarkable part of the business strategy, but let's leave those worms in that can for now.
For organisations that are just starting to dip their toes into the murky e-waters, I would imagine that an elearning policy may prove helpful. It might (a) help the L&D team identify which of their learning events will provide the quick wins in terms of a transfer online and (b) jump-start the thought process as to the sort of previously unavailable learning and support tools that can be provided now that online media are being included in the mix.
I'm not quite sure how to read the WBL Institute document you pointed to, Skip. Could you explain a little?
As I read it, the WBL Institute document seems to be down in the belly of the beast in terms of technologies, solutions and VLEs rather than where I think any eLearning strategy needs to sit - which is firmly within an overall learning strategy (as David suggested) and is in which 'eLearning is an unremarkable part' (as Karyn recommends).
I think that the 8 key questions that need to be asked around the effective use of technology for learning (which is how I read 'eLearning' ) within an overall learning strategy are:
1. What is our strategy as a training/L&D department in terms of how we plan to identify priorities, design, deliver and measure our services to our stakeholders over then next 2-3 years?
2. What role do we see technology playing in our overall learning strategy?
3. Do we have the budget to meet our strategic goals in terms of technology acquisition, roll-out and maintenance ? If not, what are we going to do to close the gap?
4. Do we have the skills in our training/L&D team to achieve our strategic goals in using learning technologies? If not, what’s our short-term tactic to build/acquire the right skills? Do we have a longer-term approach? (this is one of the most important considerations in my view)
5. Do we have the support of our key stakeholders (i.e. key leaders and managers)? Do they understand what we’re trying to achieve and why we’re going about it this way? Is it in line with the organisation's overall strategic thinking? Have they ‘signed-up’ on the changes we’re going to make? If not, have we incentivised them to do so?
6. Do we have access to all the technologies we’ll need to get started? If not, how can we get access to them? Is there a cheap, fast, low-risk interim approach that will help us get started?
7. Do we need IT or other sign-off to get started? What about for initial pilots?
8. Have we ‘educated’ our IT colleagues to understand both our objectives and our strategic requirements? Have we identified any ‘champions’ in IT who can influence their colleagues/leaders on our behalf?
I wrote a blog piece last week discussing alignment of L&D strategy with business strategy and the importance of accountability that touches on this issue. Not advertising, but you can read the piece on my blog or get to it from this web site.
Hi Charles, thank you for your valuable comments on developing an elearning strategy. Tomorrow, my handout will have a list of resources and I have included your 8 questions and details of your blog. David is focusing on the strategic questions whereas I will be focusing on practical ones.
I have a slightly different problem - I'm a school governor in a school which does not make best use of eLearning / current learning technologies. A number of schools have written eLearning strategies (I take Karyn's point below about worms and cans) but to find which schools have good ones means trawling through any number of Ofsted reports. Has anyone written or has access to a school orientated eLearnign stratgey?
I am new to this forum and have read with interest the comments before. I work in the People Development team of a large international professional services firm. Historically most of our formal learning has been in the format of classroom training. However with the current economic conditions increasing focus is being placed on identifying alternative delivery mechanisms and therefore we venture into the virtual/elearning world.
I agree with the comments that is shouldn't be a different strategy, however, I feel that for us taking our first tentative steps, a clear indication of what we mean by eLearning and how we will achieve the business goals using alternative technologies is a worth while step. Does anyone have good examples of what one might include/address as part of the wider business and learning strategy?