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ILT Strategy Development - A Practical Approach

Hamilton House, 
Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD
9th June 2010

"Every aspect was useful, good mix of presentation and exercises".

"Clear sequence and active involvement".

"The focus on the wider process that goes into any strategy planning".

"Meeting other colleagues/colleges and sharing ideas and common issues arising".

Welcome

Following a short welcome and housekeeping by Bernard Aghedo, John Burke set the tone for the workshop by introducing the work of JISC InfoNet and the aims for the day. JISC InfoNet, one of the JISC Advance Advisory Services is based at Northumbria University. All JISC InfoNet resources including the Strategy Infokit is free to download from their website and requires no registration or login. John noted that the worskhop had attracted a very mixed audience and included those reviewing their strategy, leading on reconvened ILT group, new to e-learning at their college and those trying to get their head round what it is - an ILT, IT or e-strategy. Among delegates were e-learning managers, chairs of ILT groups, IT support managers, LRC and Moodle managers. John gave the overall aims of the day as:

  1. JISC InfoNet
  2. Structure of the Strategy Infokit
  3. Fundamental issues associated with developing and writing strategy
  4. Implications for the ILT strategy

Strategic Planning

What is a strategy is the question that should begin any strategic planning process. John Burke gave the following definitions:

  1. The art of war (Oxford Dictionary)
  2. The management of an army campaign
  3. Action plan
  4. Strategic planning - a process based approach

John further explained some of the variables that would influence the strategic planning process including

  1. Defining your objectives - in an educational context, this is about justifying technology related changes based on benefits to learners/end users
  2. Ensuring your decisions and actions help realise them
  3. Knowing if and when you achieve them - how do you measure? If you're introducing e-learning into a two year course, will it be two years before you can measure it?

More in John's presentation in the Workshop Resources section at the bottom of this report.

Strategic Framework

delegates discussing round table in the curriculum design workshop
A Strategic Framework

John explained the Strategic Framework as consisting of the Mission, Vision and Values Statements at the top layer. These are underpinned by a middle layer Strategic Plan for anywhere between 3 to 5 years. The Strategic Plan is itself undergirded by the Service, Departmental and Team Strategies which are developed by individuals from different parts of the organisation. These strategies are influenced by Key Performance Indicators. More in John's presentation in the Workshop Resources section.

Common Problems with Strategic Planning

John enumerated some common problems that can occur and recur that delegates should be aware of. Using the Strategic Framework as the basis, at the top layer, problems around the Mission, Vision and Values Statements could be:

  1. Never heard of them before
  2. Doesn't mean much to me
  3. Don't recognise them
  4. Misses new critical elements

At the Strategic Plan layer, common problems would include the below:

  1. External issues have now changed
  2. Internal issues have also changed
  3. Cannot track progress
  4. Non-agreement with  set priorities

While at the Bottom layer, with the Services, Departmental and Team strategies, John suggested the below could be among the problems that delegates may encounter

  1. Measurement - we measure what we want not what we should
  2. It takes too long to gather data
  3. What do all these statistics really mean
  4. So something is Red, so what?

See John's full presentation for more.

Group work - Various

Delegates working in groups
Delegates working in groups

Throughout the day delegates were engaged in various group discussions and activities. Some of the discussions were prompted by delegates seeking answers to those issues they were facing. For example, there was a discussion on the six key performance indicators that could be used to measure the impact of e-learning, and what delegates should/should not measure. Another group work focused on getting delegates to debate organisational values, values which are specific to ILT, identifying the differences between organisational values and those from an ILT perspective in order to determine if there was compatibility or tension between them. There were also some strategy grid activities, with and without the ILT component, and a very useful discussion on Impact Calculator.

Situation Analysis - Tools and Techniques

Graciano Soares, RSC London Senior e-Learning Advisor
Graciano Soares, Senior Advisor, RSC London

Graciano Soares, Senior Advisor, RSC London, presented on how delegates could analyse their current ILT/e-learning situation as a useful and valuable exercise. The output of this exercise would then feed into  the ILT/e-learning strategy development. To start, Graciano facilitated some initial group work and discussion to determine if delegates that had been involved in strategy development and if they had consulted with key staff before attempting to write their strategies and if the strategies were eventually implemented. Following this, Graciano introduced two major tools, Becta Generator and RSC London EPR, that could help delegates understand where they were with regards to how technology was developing in their contexts. Graciano explained that wider consultation was at the heart of the RSC London EPR, a service that RSC London was offering free of charge to providers interested in reviewing progress to date on the use of technology in their organisations. Graciano's full presentation can be accessed in the Workshop Resources section below.

Summary / Final thoughts

The workshop was a welcome forum for delegates to share their experiences, collaborate and network. It was clear that the topics and issues raised were those that providers were dealing with regardless of the type of organisation. The resources shared by John Burke were well received by delegates and the group activities provided much impetus for the lively debates that marked the workshop. At the end, several delegates showed interest in using RSC London's EPR service.

Bernard Aghedo
Senior Advisor

Workshop Resources

John Burke's Presentation

Strategic Conversation

Strategy Activity Grid - 1

Strategy Activity Grid - 2

JISC InfoNet Strategy Infokit

Graciano Soares' Presentation

 

 

 

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