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					Taking the
The Interim Tertiary
e-Learning Framework

                ISBN: 0-478-13231-X

Published by the Ministry of Education, October 2004

  National Office, 45–47 Pipitea Street, Thorndon

              PO Box 1666, Wellington


      Design and Production: FitzBeck Creative

                         2   Taking the NEXT STEP
       4      Introduction

       5      Benefits of an Interim Framework

       6      Vision

       8      Principles

     10       Key Action Areas

     12       Next Steps

3   Taking the NEXT STEP
e-Learning has a vital role to play in                   The Interim Tertiary e-Learning Framework
strengthening New Zealand’s tertiary education           sets out:
system and helping it to better meet the needs           • a shared vision of what e-learning can
of learners.                                                achieve
                                                         • a set of agreed guiding principles
Internet-based technology is changing the way
                                                         • seven key action areas that are essential to
that providers can connect with one another
                                                            the development of sector capability.
and their learners. New patterns of teaching
and learning are beginning to emerge in New              The implementation of this Framework will be
Zealand with many institutions keen to explore           done in partnership with key stakeholders and
the flexibility and responsiveness that e-learning       in alignment with the Government’s Tertiary
can deliver. Digital resources such as course            Education Strategy 2002–2007 and the Tertiary
websites, virtual classrooms, self-assessment            Information Strategy. e-Learning figures
tools and online chat forums are transforming            prominently in both these strategies as a means
the learning experience. Tertiary institutions are       of strengthening the capacity of the tertiary
entering into new and promising collaborative            sector and improving access to quality learning.
                                                         New Zealand is not alone in facing these
This new momentum is just a beginning.                   challenges. e-Learning is a major global trend
However the challenge now is to create a                 and New Zealand is competing in an
national e-learning framework which ensures              increasingly borderless education market. New
that e-learning is accessible, relevant and of           Zealand must carve out its own niche in the
high quality. Developments must be driven by             increasingly competitive e-learning market.
sound pedagogy, not simply by advances in

Work has been underway since July 2001 to
develop New Zealand’s e-learning capabilities,
in consultation with the tertiary sector. A 2002
discussion document, Highways and Pathways:
Exploring New Zealand’s e-Learning
Opportunities recommended the establishment
of the e-Learning Collaborative Development
Fund and the launch of two electronic portals
for tertiary education in New Zealand.

Creating the Interim Tertiary e-Learning
Framework is another important milestone in
achieving an effective e-learning environment.
The Framework outlined in this document has
been developed by the Ministry of Education in
consultation with Government agencies and the
tertiary sector. The National Library co-
sponsored the project.

                                                     4   Taking the NEXT STEP
Benefits of an Interim
The Interim Tertiary e-Learning Framework
will help New Zealand to plan a more
coordinated approach to e-learning and will
encourage greater collaboration and
connection between providers, learners and
other stakeholders.

A coordinated national approach will also
reduce duplication of effort and resources
and ensure the best possible return from
our investment in e-learning.

We need a national tertiary e-learning

• to provide direction for the
  development of e-learning across
  the tertiary system as a whole

• to support tertiary organisations
  as they respond to technological

• to advance the Government’s overall
  strategy for tertiary education

• to help ensure that our e-learning
  capability develops efficiently and cost-

• to enhance New Zealand’s position in the
  global education market

• to contribute to an integrated e-learning
  strategy that spans all sectors of

Many of the potential benefits of e-learning
cannot be realised by individual institutions
acting alone. To make the most of what
internet technologies have to offer, we must
develop a truly networked education system
which benefits all participants.
This requires a readiness to
collaborate at all levels.

                                                5   Taking the NEXT STEP
NOISIV                                                          HERE ARE SOME e-Learning SCENARIOS:

                                                                          DURING a lunch-break at work
                                                                          Moana logs onto the course
                                                                          website to check which reading
                                                                          she should be doing. She is
                                                                          studying part-time for a
                                                                          Certificate in Management.
                                                                          While online, she can print out
                                                                          the tutor’s fact sheet on how to
                                                                          prepare a business case, which
                                                                          is her next assignment.
The vision for the Interim                               e-Learning will help to remove barriers to
                                                         educational opportunities and success. It will
Tertiary e-Learning Framework is:                        give learners greater choice as to where, when
                                                         and how they learn. e-Learning will enhance
e-Learning will contribute to a                          lifelong learning opportunities by ensuring that
                                                         learning is increasingly flexible and tailored to
networked, flexible tertiary                             the needs of individuals, communities and work
education system offering
                                                         Our vision is that e-learning opportunities will
accessible, relevant, high quality                       reflect New Zealand’s unique cultural identity
learning opportunities to all                            and offer new and innovative pathways that
                                                         complement existing learning avenues.
New Zealanders.
                                                         e-Learning has the potential to meet the
                                                         learning needs of a far more diverse range of
                                                         people and to recognise learning in many
                                                         locations – the home, the workplace, marae,
                                                         community centres, libraries and traditional
                                                         campuses. The flourishing of e-learning will see
                                                         far more collaborative partnerships between
                                                         tertiary organisations and more flexible
                                                         qualifications arrangements. Part-time and self-
                                                         paced learning will become more popular as
                                                         people are able to schedule their study around
                                                         work and family commitments.

                                                         The learning process itself will become richer.
                                                         New technologies such as mobile internet and
                                                         broadband will expand the range of learning
                                                         experiences beyond traditional face-to-face
                                                         teaching and learning methods. Digital tools and
                                                         content such as interactive virtual simulations
                                                         will become as valuable as books and

                                     6   Taking the NEXT STEP
PAUL is taking an evening course                JEREMY is studying chemistry at                DENISE is in her final year of
in art history at his local high                university. With end of year                   her Diploma in Early Childhood
school. From his home PC he                     exams looming, he logs onto the                Education. Her group needs to
follows a web-link provided by                  course website and takes a                     choose a topic for their end-of-
the class tutor. Arriving at the site           multi-choice self-assessment to                year collaborative assignment.
he takes a virtual tour of the                  find out which areas he needs                  To get ideas, she goes online to
Sistine Chapel, noting down                     to focus on for his revision. He               review assignments done by the
features to discuss in next week’s              posts a question on the class                  previous year’s class. She then
class.                                          discussion forum and several                   logs onto a pre-arranged online
                                                other students and the lecturer                chat with her group to discuss
                                                respond.                                       their options.

            The Interim Tertiary e-Learning Framework
                                   The development of New Zealand’s e-learning capabilities will contribute to –
                                   “A networked, flexible education system offering accessible,relevant, high quality learning
                                   opportunities to all New Zealanders”
   VISION                          e-Learning will help remove barriers to educational opportunity and success, leading to
                                   increased participation at all levels in the tertiary system
                                   e-Learning will lead to life-long learning opportunities that are increasingly relevant to
                                   learners’ individual needs
 What impact can we
 reasonably hope                   Quality
 e-learning will have on           e-Learning will lead to better quality teaching and improved learning outcomes
 our education system?

                                   • Take a learner-centred approach
   PRINCIPLES                      • Follow and share good practice
                                   • Exploit opportunities for collaboration
                                   • Be innovative
 What principles do we
 need to follow to have the        • Develop models for financial affordability/sustainability
 best chance of achieving
 the e-learning vision?

                                   • Development of a vibrant, inclusive ‘community of practice’, through which
                                     practitioners are able to share e-learning information and experiences in a collegial
   ACTION AREAS                    • Reliable research into e-learning in the New Zealand context
                                   • Professional development for staff in tertiary organisations
                                   • Adoption of relevant technical and design standards for e-learning developments
                                   • Development of appropriate legal and policy frameworks for electronic rights
 What are the key action
 areas that need to be             • Development of qualifications and credentialling frameworks that recognise flexible
 addressed at a national             learning pathways
 level in the short to             • Exploration of new e-learning opportunities for marginalised learners
 medium term?

                                                                 7   Taking the NEXT STEP
New Zealand’s Interim Framework will be                    Collaboration
based on five principles:
                                                           Increased collaboration between tertiary
• taking a learner-centred approach                        organisations means moving away from a more
                                                           discrete, self-contained approach to the
• demonstrating good practice
                                                           provision of education.
• exploiting opportunities for collaboration
                                                           A variety of collaborative arrangements are
• being innovative                                         currently being explored with a view to reducing
                                                           costs and duplication of effort. They include
• developing models for financial sustainability.
                                                           sharing investment in physical and technical
Learner-centred                                            infrastructure; co-developing or licensing the
A ‘learner-centred’ approach means striving to             use of digital learning materials; sharing
meet learners’ differing needs, rather than                information about e-learning initiatives; sub-
offering a ‘one-size-fits-all’ system. Individual          contracting aspects of learner support (such as
learner needs must be considered when making               technical support); and developing shared
decisions about the content, structure, teaching           qualifications frameworks.
methods, learning activities and support
provisions associated with any learning
                                                           Creative thinking is required to realise the full
                                                           potential offered by e-learning. Simply
It is essential that tertiary organisations                replicating existing models in an online
understand the factors that will provide their             environment will not achieve the desired
learners with the best chance of achieving                 learning outcomes.
positive learning outcomes. Web-based systems
                                                           New initiatives must be informed by good
must be designed so they are easy for learners
                                                           practice, and be effectively evaluated so their
to use. This will require careful evaluation and
                                                           impact on learners is well considered.

Good practice
e-Learning decisions should be informed by
examples of good practice, here and overseas.
For example, New Zealand already has a strong
tradition of distance education provision. Much
of what we already know about the principles of
sound pedagogy and learner support from this
area can be related to e-learning.

Many tertiary organisations are purchasing,
customising or developing software and digital
resources for use by their learners. It is
important that these are fit for purpose and
comply with relevant technical and design
standards. In the longer term, it is also vital that
that these new digital systems are able to
become part of a networked tertiary community.

                                                       8   Taking the NEXT STEP
Affordability / sustainability
It is important that e-learning initiatives are
financially sustainable. e-Learning presents
challenges to traditional cost models within
the tertiary sector. There may be a need to
balance increased spending on network and
                                                        FEEDBACK FROM THE SECTOR
systems infrastructure against potential
savings on physical infrastructure such as

We still require more information on which to
                                                            “If you add technology to teaching without
base such calculations. While the traditional
                                                            looking at its impacts, you just go from bad
distance education paradigm offers some
                                                            teaching to expensive bad teaching. ”
useful pointers, the full costs of developing
                                                            University Educational Technologist
and maintaining quality e-learning provision –
including appropriate levels of staff
development and student support – still need
to be identified.
                                                            “Right now there’s a lot of rhetoric, hype and
Partnerships with the commercial e-learning                 misinformation around e-learning. Above all we
sector should also be explored. New Zealand’s               need more honest critical assessment of what
e-learning vendors and service providers, web               we’re doing. ”
and multimedia developers, educational                      University Senior Teaching Fellow
publishers and corporate e-learning specialists
are developing a growing track record in
e-learning. This sector constitutes a significant
national resource in terms of innovative
                                                            “ We need to be thinking what kind of value we
thinking, technical expertise, and research
                                                            add above and beyond the infrastructure – how
and development capability.
                                                            we can define our own niche in the market.”
                                                            Polytechnic e-Learning Manager

                                                            “The online digital space offers another learning
                                                            environment, which is potentially an open
                                                            canvas. However, orthodox education has quickly
                                                            been mapped into the digital space – the
                                                            transformative potential of the new environment
                                                            has not been realised.”
                                                            University Senior Teaching Fellow

                                                            “‘Guinea pig’ scenarios are a real danger in new
                                                            areas like e-learning and must be avoided.”
                                                            Student Representative

                                                    9   Taking the NEXT STEP
Key Action Areas
This section identifies seven e-learning action           Professional development
areas for the tertiary sector for the short-to-
                                                          Professional development is a pressing issue in
medium term.
                                                          the new e-learning environment. New
                                                          specialisations are emerging and many
Developing a ‘community of practice’
                                                          organisations are implementing new team
The first priority is to develop a vibrant,
                                                          approaches. This is a real issue for smaller
inclusive ‘community of practice’, so that
                                                          organisations that do not have a centralised
e-learning information and experience can be
                                                          teaching support department. Effective ways to
shared among practitioners. This community
                                                          support tertiary organisations and their staff
must also have strong links to the international
                                                          could include centralised staff development
e-learning community.
                                                          resources, incentive schemes for staff
Some forums already exist but they tend to be             achievement in e-learning, and development of
restricted to particular regions or type of               postgraduate teaching qualifications specific to
organisation.                                             e-learning.

Mechanisms to support this community could                Adopting common technical and design
include online forums, conferences, seminars
and fellowships. The redevelopment of the
                                                          Common software standards and systems are
e-learning portal,, should
                                                          required so that digital tools and resources can
also help. Many tertiary organisations have
                                                          be shared across the whole system.
commented that they would benefit from
                                                          Considerable work has already been carried out
guidelines on e-learning pedagogy and
                                                          in these areas overseas; the priority for New
associated business planning. Information and
                                                          Zealand is to determine which standards to
resources on topics such as these should be
                                                          adopt or adapt, and to decide on ways to
made readily available.
                                                          encourage compliance with standards. This
e-Learning research                                       work needs to be coordinated centrally, but
                                                          must have significant involvement and
While increasing amounts of international
                                                          ownership from the sector.
research is available, local practitioners are
impeded by a lack of research into e-learning in
                                                          Electronic rights management
New Zealand. Robust research is required to
                                                          Mechanisms are required for managing rights
confidently drive future policy developments and
                                                          and assigning costs for sharing information
to help tertiary organisations make informed
                                                          resources across the sector. National models
investment decisions. National research
                                                          need to be developed, rather than leaving
priorities might include areas such as e-learning
                                                          tertiary organisations to deal with issues on an
pedagogy, particularly in relation to specific
                                                          ad hoc basis. These models must be consistent
learning needs; e-learning and Kaupapa Ma    ¯ori;
                                                          with New Zealand’s copyright legislation, which
and e-learning cost models.
                                                          is currently being amended. Many stakeholders
                                                          have commented that New Zealand’s existing
                                                          copyright legislation has hampered the
                                                          development of e-learning. There is also a lack
                                                          of clarity and confidence amongst academic
                                                          staff on this issue.

                                                     10   Taking the NEXT STEP
                                                         FEEDBACK FROM THE SECTOR

                                                             “ We need more connections between people –
                                                             because many people are working in isolation, and
                                                             their achievements are not being made visible. ”
                                                             Director, University Electronic Education Centre

                                                             “Education organisations need business advice to
                                                             help them develop their e-learning capability. ”
                                                             Chief Information Officer, Wananga

Developing frameworks for recognising
flexible learning                                            “ We need to recognise that New Zealand has its
e-Learning’s increased flexibility presents                                                        ¯ori
                                                             own needs, especially in relation to Ma and
challenges for the recognition of achievement,               Pasifika.”
particularly if learners enrol in more than one              Polytechnic Online Services Manager
tertiary institution. There are a number of
systems and initiatives already in place that
will help meet this challenge. These include
                                                             “Successful e-learning requires a partnership of
the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured
                                                             instructional designers, technologists, subject matter
Qualifications, National and New Zealand
                                                             experts and skilled online tutors. Each member…
qualifications, national credit transfer policies
                                                             contributes an invaluable skill specialisation.”
and agreements between providers. Tertiary
                                                             ITPNZ e-Learning Forum
organisations and their quality assurance
bodies must continue to ensure that e-learning
achievement can be fully recognised.
                                                              “Academic staff development is a key issue.
Improving access to e-learning for                           [We must increase people’s] understanding of the
marginalised learners                                        principles of teaching and learning in general, and
                                                             the role of e-learning within that.”
One of the biggest challenges New Zealand
                                                             University Director of Higher Education
faces is to improve e-learning opportunities for
marginalised groups. Pilot projects are needed
to establish how e-learning can provide better
outcomes for these groups. Projects could                    “Involvement in e-learning is still down to
explore new models of learner support; design                individual staff members’ initiative and
of virtual learning environments to meet the                 enthusiasm.”
needs of specific learner groups; and                        Course Coordinator, College of Education
development of e-learning content in different
languages. Increasing participation in e-
learning will require improved access to ICT                 “Government needs to encourage the sector to look
infrastructure, as well as basic levels of                   at [inter-operability], particularly with regard to
literacy and computer literacy.                              Learning Management Systems. We can learn a lot
                                                             from the Australian example. ”
                                                             Learning System Developer, College of Education

                                                             “New Zealand’s copyright legislation was written
  “The digital divide is a major issue and ICT               before the digital revolution and doesn’t deal
  access is a major problem. It’s a wealth issue             effectively with digital copyright in a practical
  and levels of literacy are also an issue. ”                educational setting. ”
  General Manager, ITO                                       University Librarian

                                                    11   Taking the NEXT STEP
Next Steps
By the end of 2004, detailed objectives and                    contestable fund for e-learning research,
success measures will be developed for each of                 development of appropriate e-learning
the seven action areas outlined in the previous                standards and various initiatives arising from
section. The Ministry of Education will                        the e-Learning Collaborative Development Fund.
coordinate the development of this Action Plan
                                                               The Interim Tertiary e-Learning Framework will
in partnership with the sector and stakeholders.
                                                               eventually be superceded by an integrated
A Reference Group, comprising sector
                                                               e-learning strategy that will encompass the
representatives, will be set up to provide a
                                                               schools, early childhood and tertiary sectors. A
forum for feedback and discussion.
                                                               public consultation exercise will be held in 2005
The Action Plan will include a number of                       which will contribute to the development of the
existing initiatives: further development of the               integrated strategy.
e-leaning portal, the establishment of a

      Implementation of the Interim Tertiary                            Development of an integrated pan-sector
      e-Learning Framework                                              e-learning strategy

      NOVEMBER – DECEMBER 2004                                          2004
      Establish reference group for tertiary e-learning                 Develop consultation document, based on
                                                                        vision and principles from the Interim Tertiary
      NOVEMBER – MARCH 2005                                             e-Learning Framework
      Develop Tertiary e-Learning Action Plan
      MAY 2005                                                          Consult with stakeholders, including:
      Co-ordinate implementation of action plan                         • Schools, early childhood and tertiary sectors
                                                                        • Learners
                                                                        • Community groups
                                                                        • Iwi
                                                                        • Businesses
                                                                        • Library and information sector
                                                                        • Commercial e-learning sector

                                                               A full version of the Interim Tertiary e-Learning
                                                               Framework can be downloaded from
                                                      Inquiries to:

                                                          12   Taking the NEXT STEP

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