According to Cradler et al (2002), two key factors in the effective use of educational technology at the institutional level include: appropriate leadership (to align technology resources with institutional improvement goals); and adequate planning for the integration of technology into the learning environment.
The importance of these two factors is discussed further in the case study evaluations of the implementation of technology-based flexible learning at the University of South Australia, the University of Central Florida, and Griffith University (Logan campus).

Some of the main hurdles associated with the implementation of technological change at an institution include:
  • a need for adequate resourcing

  • the importance of tracking and assessing changes as they are implemented, and

  • the education of educational staff in the principles and philosophy of the approach (Ehrmann, 2002).

  • Strategies for using IT to make major improvements in educational outcomes include:
  • Having a long-term focus: a seven to 10-year improvement plan in a select few strategic areas is suggested, with foci to include: the acquisition of generic attributes such as inquiry and research skills; "real world" activities for learning; teamwork skills; and/or designing, composing and creating.

  • Interrogating the ability of the technology to make long-term contributions: key questions about the potential of the technologies include:
    - Is major progress possible?
    - Is the new technology ready for mass use?
    - Are costs acceptable?
    - To what degree will the adoption of the new technology disrupt the current educational strategy?
    - If the product disappeared, would the material be unusable?

  • Choosing easy-to-use instructional materials and educational materials instructors can inexpensively modify

  • Tracking the strategy?s progress: According to Ehrmann, an educational initiative is most vulnerable two to three years after it begins, as initial enthusiasm wanes and other issues begin to distract attention from the initiative. Program evaluation should begin immediately, in order to gather baseline data. Regular studies provide data on time and budget stresses, successes and failures and help to refocus attention.

  • Developing institutional support for resourcing: building a coalition of people and interests focused on the outcome to be improved, not just the technology

  • Institutional approaches to flexible learning section

    Further reading: institutional approaches to flexible learning

    University of South Australia King, B, McCausland, H and Nunan, T (2001) Converting to online course and program delivery: the University of South Australia Case Study. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning,...

    Griffith University, Logan Campus - case study

    Griffith University established its Logan campus in 1998. At the same time, the Logan Evaluation Working Party was established to oversee a three-phase evaluation process of the new learning environment offered there. The final phase of the...

    University of Central Florida - case study

    This university began employing web-based resources to develop e-learning opportunities in 1997. This strategy was part of its ongoing mission of expanding student access to higher education, while improving the quality of academic offerings and ...

    University of South Australia - case study

    Since 1993, the University of South Australia has been delivering an educational environment which recognises the significance of information and communications technologies in supporting student access and learning (King, McCausland and Nunan, 2001). ...

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