Thursday, November 10, 2011

Towards an eLearning Framework

Making eLearning Planning & Implementations as easy as ABCD
The need for an eLearning implementation framework has been around for a long time. Many institutions are implementing eLearning in an adhoc manner. This has led to costly white elephant elearning projects that do not add value to the institution and neither do they improve teaching and learning experience.

In a bid to address this, myself and a couple of friends have decided to give this a shot. This is what am thinking about what we need to do:
  1. Identify the key stages in the framework. Thinking about what we shall have in the Executive Summary and how we will breakdown the various components and tie everything together. We may also include "optional" stages. For example, a maturity model ranking will be very useful as in the case with the ISO standard.
  2. Document Best practices for each key stage of the framework. We need to identify best practices for each of the key stages. These best practices can come from anywhere in the world. Limiting ourselves to what is happening in Africa will be inhibitive. Each of the best practices shall be thoroughly studied and documented to serve two purposes: 1) To inform the framework and 2) To be documented as part of the framework as example suitable implementations that others can learn from.
  3. Develop a Toolkit: This will require us to develop the appropriate templates, management tools, quality assurance checklists, score cards and anything else that shall be used to ascertain that the eLearning implementation in a particular institution is going according to plan and it is bound to bring in the value that the institution so desires.
  4. Identify a body that will be in charge of this standard. This will require us to think who will host and support this standard. It should be a body that is seen as independent and not trying to influence the other organizations that will adopt the standard. It should be noted that this standard will be applied in both public and private sectors therefore it should not have only lineages to academic institutions. This organization will play the role of certifying institutions like they do in the iso certifications process
  5. Promote the standard: How is the standard/framework going to be promoted as an international standard. How do we get people to adopt it and use it and recognize is as an appropriate standard/framework for the management of eLearning project implementations? We need to answer these questions.

I believe if we follow the above loosely put together points then we will not only have a framework/standard that is just left in the shelves somewhere but a real management tool that will not only be a source of revenue thus guaranteeing the constant review and evolution of the framework to meet future requirements, but also build a body of professionals who have good understanding of what an elearning implementation is. It will also go along way in helping educational institutions find their way in this process, helping them to save costs and to obtain maximum value from their elearning implementations while reducing the management risk involved. I am thinking of something similar to COBIT.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Things I don't understand....

Life always seem to have some perplexing stuff. For example:
  1. Being a developed country yet with crazy debt statistics (sometimes upto 99% of GDP or worse 4 times of your GDP). See the top 10 countries with the most debt and the Wikipedia list of countries by external debt. 
  2. Going to war to destroy then rebuild. Worst case putting in place military to keep the peace. For example, some countries at war with others or having serious internal strife contributing to UN Peace Keeping forces. See statistics here. (As at September, 2011). There are three (3) UN peace keeping missions in Sudan alone (That is a total of 18% of all peace keeping initiatives). Cost or rebuilding Iraq is US$ 44b in 2009 ( See Iraq Reconstruction Costs). Look at the costs - verbatim from Iraq Reconstruction Costs: Initial deployment of troops: $9 billion to $13 billion,Conducting the war: $6 billion to $9 billion per month,Returning forces to US: $5 billion to $7 billion and Temporary occupation of Iraq: $1 billion to $4 billion per month (Ridiculous!!!) 
  3. The UN talking about democracy yet it has a very unpopular veto system.The United Nations Security Council "power of veto" refers to the veto power wielded solely by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States), enabling them to prevent the adoption of any "substantive" draft Council resolution, regardless of the level of international support for the draft (from Wikipedia) . Since 1945, when the United Nations was founded, the Soviet Union and Russia have used their veto at the Security Council 120 times, the United States 76 times, Britain 32, France 18 and China only 5 (See BBC News).  In fact a number of countries have disobeyed the UN at times. Other countries have monarchies and say they have democracy. See this  link for forms of governments in the world.There are acqually very may forms of governments. Some are laughable  (see here).

    Saturday, February 26, 2011

    What do you think student's pay for to come to an educational institution...

    I was recently in Nigeria for official business and come across an editorial article in a local newspaper (National Mirror of February 16th) on "Graduate unemployment: The root causes", it was really astonishing. This is why.

    The article starts by stating "Companies and organisations (public or private) distrust today's academic certificates. Thus such qualifications, which has already been reduced to a mere 'meal ticket' can no longer guarantee even a meal for their holders". The article goes on to say
     "The alarming rate of youth unemployment may be traced to certain factors. These include population growth,youth migration from rural to urban areas, stagnation in the manufacturing sector....but the most critical factor explaining the rising youth unemployment in the country is the simple truth that the typical Nigerian youth is unemployable even after training. Most of them lack the basic job skills the employer seeks in order to turn the organizational fortunes around". These are the reasons that are given:

    1. "The unrestrained pursuit of lucre by parents,often making it difficulty to groom the children....exposing the child to wrong influences thus growing up lacking proper foundation for sound character. Later in life, such character flaws renders a person unemployable as a youth" .
    2. "Personal manners which are generally poor characterized by lack of courtesy or respect, indiscipline, a poor dress sense and moral looseness are difficult to correct by the time a child has grown beyond a certain age"
    3. "Closely related to the above is the skewed orientation of the school system which is no longer considered by many as a place to mould character. For instance, many students now throw away books and notes of previous classes passed as having been "passed"  the classes will never be needed again"
    4. "Nigerian youth is more likely to exhibit some or all of the following: poor communication in standard English, a repulsive dress  sense, poor manners and immorality. How then can he defend his qualifications?"
    Though I do not agree 100%  with the above, this article makes me ask the question "what do really students pay for when they join a particular educational institution". I have asked this question to lecturers and school administrators and at times I end up getting the response "certificates, knowledge etc". I don't agree that this is what they pay for. I want to believe that a discerning student with options will most likely choose an institution that he/she perceives to have a better teaching and learning experience. This experience will comprise of their perception on the quality of education they will receive, the networks they will create, the leadership and opportunities to excel presented, the competence exhibited in teaching, teaching resources etc.  Efforts that will improve the teaching and learning experience of a student should be the primary focus of any educational institution that intends to create value in its students.