Success in eLearning: What is the recipe?
As technology continues to permeate all facets of our lives, the application of technology for learning and capacity enhancement has also expanded in breadth and depth. The question to ask is no longer “whether” organisations will implement eLearning, but rather, “whether they will do it well?” (Rosenberg, 2001). // Against this backdrop, there is a growing number of “recipes” for successful eLearning design and delivery. In a research carried out by Ann W. Armstrong (2007) for 15 companies in the US, covering over 25 major web-based learning initiatives, she found an eSUCCESS framework which embraces eight tenets, namely: executive sponsorship, support from the organisations, understand and motivate the learners, culture fosters learning, content is relevant to learner and organisation, evaluate and assess, structure of programme is engaging, interactive and blended, and simulate the work environment and work tasks. // In another “recipe”, the focus is more on deep learning that results in behavioural changes. Cercone (2008) suggests that successful course design models should include connecting new knowledge to prior learning, maintain collaborative interaction between students, promote a self-reflective environment, include immediate applications and advance self-regulated learning. The result of such a design is that the learning will be deepened (Fink, 2003; Majeski & Stover, 2007). // At Commonwealth of Learning (COL), we have developed our own eLearning recipe through the eLearning with International Organisations (eLio) initiative. As the Learning Manager for the eLio initiative, I have had the privilege of providing eLearning to employees working in international organisations such as the United Nations organisations, the multi-lateral development banks and the Commonwealth Secretariat. After ten years of involvement and having worked through a hundred cohorts, we have found a recipe that helps a dispersed, mobile and busy workforce to enhance several core competencies required to deliver on their targets such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Education for ALL ( Dakar),and the Commonwealth objectives. Or, more simply put, our e-Learning courses have helped professionals in the field sharpen their skills so that they can achieve their targets of helping refugees find shelters and safety, assisting the rural poor to gain clean water, or helping a child to find access to education.