Making Sense of Technology Strategy Choices for Online Education

By | June 10, 2014

The leadership of universities, companies, and government agencies know that online courses, digital course materials, and e-learning are the wave of the future.  For some institutions this wave of the future is a tsunami as the pace of innovation, and the resulting shifts in traditional organizational roles and boundaries, are breathtaking.  Common and important choices include:

Responding to changing expectations of learners. New technologies, particularly mobile internet access and search, are changing the way students and others learn. Learners increasingly expect digital, 24-7, just-in-time, and peer-to-peer enabled systems that present information tailored to their individual learning needs. Make sure your technology strategy choices address the needs and expectations of the individual learner as a priority.

Investing to increase the scope and effectiveness of educators. New technologies and digital publications can simultaneously scale an educator’s impact to more learners and make them more effective, delivering content and teaching that meet learners changing needs. Make sure your technology strategy choices: 1) enable the increasingly aggressive use of modularized digital, multimedia content; 2) support long-lived and transient learning communities; and 3) incorporate new generation adaptive learning technologies.

Making the most of content knowledge and pedagogical expertise. Individual experts, formal data repositories, and accidental archives of valuable information exist at universities, companies, and government agencies. As digital educational publishing technology advances we are seeing steep drops in the difficulty and expense of making this information accessible in tutorial form. At a wide range of public and private institutions, technology strategy choices can enable critical mission-supporting learner-oriented digital publication. This opportunity can be challenging for educational institutions, and is even more so for companies, government agencies, or civic institutions such as foundations or professional societies.

The success-limiting factor in these areas is not simply making the right technology choices, but rather selecting or developing a strategy that recognizes and effectively articulates the value proposition in digital educational publishing.