E-Learning Failures

Stephen Downes wrote today about this report/book  that came out in October 2007 about why e-learning initiatives fail (The book is freely downloadable).The authors analyzed 10 different e-learning initiatives that failed including the California Virtual University.  Their conclusions about why the initiatives failed have important recommendations not just for e-learning (virtual or online school) initiatives but for any initiative that hopes to offer any kind of learning online (e.g. professional development, high school online, library tutorials).  The authors are all connected with the European Distance and E-learning Network (EDEN). 

Their recommendations include:

1. Realize that hard-nosed market research is essential for the success of any e-learning initiative;

2. Plan carefully for and control carefully the revenue and expenses. Seeding funding dries up quickly;

3. Choice of courses and their accreditation is crucial;

4. Define precisely the relationships of your initiative to existing providers and define precisely the institutional model you will adopt;

5. Plan carefully to manage both educational and business activities;

6. Avoid top-down political and boardroom initiatives;

7. Avoid consortia of institutions that compete with each other and the consortium.


1 Response to “E-Learning Failures”

  1. 1 Tom Nixon February 15, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    And the interesting thing is that the big boys have decided that it is worth it to enter the online high school world with both the University of Phoenix and Kaplan University buying online high schools last year. Clearly, they see a future in them. Probably they also figure that they can leverage their already significant online presences into making them successful.

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