2.8 – Assessing Readiness for E-Learning

Now that you have an overview of the key readiness factors, you should be able to assess the readiness of an organization. Bates & Sangrà have researched this issue by examining in depth how 11 different institutions have handled the implementation of e-learning. Based on their review they developed a set of nine criteria for assessing the success of learning technology integration. With some modifications, I think these can also be used to assess the the readiness of an institution for e-learning. These criteria are discussed fully on pp. 71-75 of Bates & Sangrà. I have modified them slightly here to focus more specifically on e-learning readiness.

  1. Are there “champions” with power and influence in the institution who recognize the importance of e-learning?
  2. Does the institution have an advanced, comprehensive IT infrastructure that enables all staff, students, and faculty to access computers, networks, software, and services as required.
  3. Have the institutional administrative systems been digitized and do faculty, staff and students have access to those services via the Internet?
  4. Does the institution have an e-learning strategy or a clear, strategic rationale for the use of e-learning?
  5. Has the institution provided adequate financial support for e-learning?
  6. Are faculty, staff and students ready to use e-learning?
  7. How comprehensive is faculty support and training for e-learning?
  8. Does the institution have an organizational culture that is conducive to e-learning?

Davis, Little and Stewart (2014) provide another perspective on some of the key readiness issues in their chapter, Developing an Infrastructure of Online Learning.  While they focus specifically on developing an appropriate infrastructure for online learning, much of what they have to say would apply to e-learning readiness.

The 2013 EDUCAUSE report, The State of E-learning Higher Education reports on a survey of higher education institutions in the United States and where they stand in terms of their use of e-learning. It identifies the challenges that are facing institutions as they attempt to implement e-learning and makes some interesting recommendations for what institutions need to do to make effective use of e-learning. This report covers many of the issues that we touch  on in this unit as well as units 3, 4 and 6.

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Bates & Sangrà, pp. 71-75