Monday, July 23

Achieving Success in Online Learning in Higher education

Link to research report (By Rob Abel, Alliance for Higher Education Competitiveness Inc.)
The purpose of this study is to understand "How successful Institutions Are Making Progress" (in the USA). Below are some of the interesting findings from the study discussed in the Executive Summary of Findings (Section 1):"
  • Higher Education institutions that are succeeding in Internet-supported Learning have strong motivations to do so.
  • Institutions successful with Internet-supported learning have a strong commitment to the initiative.
  • Successful institutions measure themselves in a variety of ways depending on what is important to them; quality is at least or more important than growth (atudent outcomes, student satisfaction, growth in enrollments, and faculty satisfaction).
  • Students and faculty are well-supported at successful institutions through a set of well established capabilities that are being constantly improved.
  • The secret sauce of achieving success in Internet-supported learning varies from institution to institution, however, a programmatic approach with a commitment to fully online programs seems to be most critical.
  • Institutions successful in Internet-supported learning have gone beyond the technical issues and are much more focused on achieving a better educational product.
  • The greatest challenges by far concerned the development and delivery of effective online learning materials and environments.
  • The successful institutions are addressing strategic, cultural and process issues that will help them perform their mission more effectively in the future no matter what direction technology takes."

Please find some time to at least read section one (Executive Summary of Findings), and then perhaps select what you find is most useful for your area of specialization or work. If you ask me what you should focus on (if not all) I would recommend you to read or browse through the following sections (in other words all , except the introduction sections):

  • Motivations for Moving Online (Section VII)
  • The Role of Leadership (Section VIII)
  • Measures of Success and Expectations (Section IX)
  • Student and Faculty Support (Section X)
  • Delivery Format (Section XI)
  • Best Practices and Innovations (Section XII)
  • Challenges (Section XIII)
  • Future Priorities and Expectations (Section XIV)
  • Action Recommendations: Where Do You Go From Here? (Section XV)
  • Perspectives on Adoption: Some Ideas to Consider (Section XVI)

Although this research is mostly based on higher education in the USA (21 institutions), it is of great value to us (or anyone involved with education), as they are still the benchmark when it comes to online learning or e-learning. Also, this paper was published on February 1st 2005, which makes it really hot; "straight out of the oven".

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