October 13, 2007
Rosenberg's Four Cs of e-learning success
I have been reading Rosenberg's book 'e-Learning' the past couple of days. Although it's audience is more of corporate execs who are strategists, it had some interesting pieces worth reflecting upon by in Instructional Technologist.
It is interesting how motivational coaches, gurus and consultants want to lay out knowledge in a nutshell: "The 11 mistakes to avoid when..." "7 ways to make _____ work" etc. They do have a lot of wisdom in them. So lets reflect on his four "C"s of e-Learning strategy success - Culture, Champions, Communication and Change in this blog post.
(Continued in extended entry)
Rosenberg's book focusses mainly on corporate e-Learning targetted towards the education of a corporate workforce. Appropriate strategies are suggested like any other management science book. Of these four Cs, Culture, as he comments ont it is not that applicable in our current scenario as we are a institution of higher education. A culture to learn about new things, via the internet flourishes in our institution and we are proud to be a part of it.
Champions are continuously and definitely needed. Most of the e-Learning infrastructure seems to flow from that seed group of individuals who are the 'early adopters'. There is no dearth of them in certain departments. However, the infectious enthusiasm does not permeate inter-departmental barriers effectively. Unless the champions are recognized on an inter-departmental level and rewarded suitably, the culture will not built. No culture ever builds itself.
The champion for SPH came from a certain department and his interdepartmental colleages took the risk to go out on a limb and try new technology. However, if a study was done to do a frequency count of e-Learning and sync/async technology use, the e-Learning champion's department will be a distant first with very few enlightened lights in other departments.
Communication of institution-wide strategy that will involve e-Learning, to the institutional community is critical. Communication that comes from the top in a timely fashion inspires ideas and high quality content. Last minute delegation creates projects that are doomed from the start and insecure team-members worry more about the end-game of pointing fingers rather than deliver productively and professionally. Artificially flavoured emails glorifying work progress and collaboration are vital indicators that a project needs to be rethought and re-directed. I have seen some excellent vision, mission and execution in this first experience of being a team-member of a world class degree program that embraced blended learning. There was a champion from the faculty side, leading the cultural shift in measured steps to minimize risks. He communicated the vision and strategies to all team members and looked after the end-product's quality which lead to a successful pilot with lesser glitches and more student satisfaction than one can practically expect from a pilot program.
and finally... Change.
Change, when heralded by sandboxed efforts of measured risks, is easier to bring about. None the less, it is still difficult to change perceptions. But the motivational line was: If 30-year users of acetate film transitioned to the half-baked PowerPoint of the earlier years, people will similarly accept podcasting, clickers and other Web 2.0 tools. I think the response has been better than just acceptance. This semester i see a bunch of faculty not just accepting, but, with a little training, independently setting up their powerpoints to use classroom-response systems (clickers) and become stand-alone podcast producers. This is because they love their jobs, their students and are not shy to ask questions.
Overall, I feel there is no better place for witessing change management, other than an institution of higher learning. The motivations, culture and resources stimulate experimental projects that ultimately live on to become regular services. This is what the informatics wing of the Public Health Library & Informatics aims to achieve: support the fostering of a successful e-Learning implementation.
Posted by rdivecha at October 13, 2007 12:43 AM