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.