Assignment 3: Analysis and Comparison of Approaches to E-Learning

This assignment can be done as an individual or a group assignment. See the group assignment information below.

There are three options for this assignment:

Option 1: Institutional/organizational e-learning strategies

Option 2: Institutional/organizational approaches to implementation of e-learning

Option 3: Government approaches to planning e-learning.

Depending on the option you choose, your task in this assignment is to select two institutional/organizational e-learning strategies, two institutional/organizational approaches to the implementation of e-learning or two government approaches to planning e-learning and review, analyze and compare them and provide your overall assessment of their merit. You should draw on the material in units 4, 5 and 6 for this assignment.

The first step is to find the plans or strategies to analyze and compare. Institutional or organizational e-learning strategies for option 1 are probably the easiest to find. If universities or colleges have e-learning strategies they are usually available from their websites. Researching option 2 may be a bit more difficult as you will need to examine how the institutions appear to be implementing e-learning based on information on their websites, your personal knowledge or experience, or from contacts you have within these organizations. In some cases, you may be able to find implementation plans that are publicly available. For Option 3, you would be looking for at a state/provincial, regional or national plans or initiatives. They could be a stand-alone e-learning strategies or initiatives or an e-learning strategies or initiatives that are embedded within a broader strategy (educational, ICT etc).

Option 1

For Option 1 we want you to continue exercising your analytical skills by conducting a broader analysis and comparison of two e-learning strategies. You can choose a school, school board, university, college or training organization or department. One of the organizations can be the one you used for assignment 2.

Ideally the organizations you choose will have clear plans for e-learning that are either stand-alone or embedded within other educational or organizational plans. The organizations should be similar, i.e two schools, two higher education institutions etc.

The strategies analyzed  should be relatively recent, certainly no more than 10 years old, preferably no more than 5 years unless there is a compelling reason.

In  conducting your analysis, consider the following questions:

  1. How do the plans propose that e-learning should be organized, supported and delivered in the organizations?
  2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of these proposals?
  3. How do you think the organizations’ approaches to e-learning could be strengthened? Justify your recommendations.

This assignment should contain three parts:

  1. A brief overview of the strategies you have chosen to analyze and the institutional or organizational contexts.
  2. An analysis and comparison of the strategies that addresses the questions above. This should form the bulk of the assignment.
  3. A brief summary and conclusion.

In assessing your assignment instructors will be applying the following criteria:

  1. How clear is the overview of the strategies and the description of the institutional/organizational contexts?
  2. How well does the assignment draw on material and ideas from the course?
  3. To what extent is the analysis supported by direct evidence from the strategies or plans?
  4. To what extent have the recommendations for strengthening the plans been justified?

Option 2

For option 2 we want you to select two institutional/organizational approaches to the implementation of e-learning and analyze and compare them with a focus on how the plans are either being implemented or are expected to be implemented. You can use the strategies you examined for assignment #1 as the basis for this assignment but remember, the focus of this assignment is on the implementation of e-learning. This means the strategies you analyze should contain specific details about the implementation of e-learning within the organizations (i.e., implementation plans) or, if they don’t,  you must be able to gather evidence of how the plans are being implemented. One of the organizations can the the one you used for assignment 2.

In conducting your analysis, consider the following questions:

  1. What is your assessment of how the plans are either being implemented or are proposed to be implemented. In answering this question you should consider how e-learning is being, or is proposed to be, organized, supported and delivered in the organizations?
  2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the implementation plans or the actual implementations?
  3. How do you think the organizations’ approach to and implementation of e-learning could be strengthened? Justify your recommendations.

The assignment should contain three parts:

  1. A brief overview of the strategies you have chosen to analyze and the institutional or organizational context.
  2. An analysis of the strategies and implementation plans that addresses the questions above. This should form the bulk of the assignment.
  3. A brief summary and conclusion.

In assessing your assignment instructors will be applying the following criteria:

  1. How clear is the overview of the strategies and implementation plans and the description of the institutional/organizational contexts?
  2. How well does the assignment draw on material and ideas from the course?
  3. To what extent is the analysis supported by direct evidence from the strategies or plans?
  4. To what extent have the recommendations for strengthening the strategies and implementation plans been justified?
  5. How well does the assignment draw on material and ideas from the course, particularly Units 2, 3, 4 and 6.

 Option 3

For option 3 we want you to turn your attention to the government level and conduct an analysis and comparison of two national, provincial/state or regional plans for and/or approaches to e-learning.

The first step is to find two plans to analyze. These could be at a state/provincial, regional or national level and they could be stand-alone e-learning strategies or an e-learning strategies that are embedded within broader strategies (educational, ICT etc).

The plans analyzed  should be relatively recent, certainly no more than 10 years old, preferably no more than 5 years unless there is a compelling reason.

Once you have identified the plans, analyze them in terms of their strengths and weaknesses using the material and ideas from the course, particularly Unit 5.

Use the following questions as starting points to guide your analysis:

  1. What steps have been taken to influence universities, colleges and schools to innovate and change? How appropriate do you consider these strategies?
  2. What steps have been taken to influence educational institutions and systems to use e-learning to address new markets and new needs in education, e.g, skill gaps? How appropriate do you consider these strategies and policies?
  3. What policies have been recommended related to the investment in new technologies within the education system? How appropriate are they?
  4. What is the ideology underlying the approach to e-learning?
  5. What is motivating the e-learning policies and strategies?
  6. What issues is the strategy trying to address?
  7. Is a strong role in planning for e-learning being assumed or a more hands-off approach? What do you think of this approach?

You should give concrete examples to justify your analysis. You should include a brief description of the education system that you are referring to.

In assessing your assignment instructors will be applying the following criteria:

  1. How clearly described are the education systems that are being discussed?
  2. How well does the assignment identify issues in the education systems that might be addressed by the use of e-learning?
  3. How well does the assignment draw on material and ideas from the course, particularly Unit 5?

Group Assignment Information

Groups must be no larger than four and each group member will receive the same mark for the assignment. Sign up for a group using the Assignment Groups tool in Blackboard Connect.

Submitting the Assignment

Maximum length for the assignment is 3500 words.

Please indicate which option you have chosen on the assignment.

Upload your assignment to the Blackboard Connect assignment dropbox. It should be in Word format.