Developing a Strategic Approach to Using Online Learning in Vocational Higher Education: Using Action Research to Identify Factors Affecting its Adoption by Lecturers
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AbstractIn: A.J. Kallenberg and M.J.J.M. van de Ven (Eds), 2002, The New Educational Benefits of ICT in Higher Education: Proceedings. Rotterdam: Erasmus Plus BV, OECR<br> ISBN 90-9016127-9
This paper presents a case study of a strategic approach to developing online learning in a vocational university in the United Kingdom. Bournemouth University is no different to many other post-92 universities in the UK in the challenges it faces, which may be described as ‘having to do more with less’. A significant example of this is having to support an increasingly diverse student population with shrinking resources. Learning technologies are being promoted to address some of these challenges and their increased use is a key priority within the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy. For the past three years, funding has been made available to support small-scale ICT projects, but their impact has been local rather than university-wide, and the lecturers involved are mainly the technology enthusiasts. The University is now considering how to encourage the majority of its lecturers to move towards adopting online learning. Research suggests that successful and widespread implementation of online learning in higher education, as with any technological innovation, depends on a number of factors. The introduction of a Managed Learning Environment (MLE) at Bournemouth happened concurrently with the re-focusing of the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy, so the opportunity was taken to meet with lecturers to discuss issues surrounding the adoption of online learning. The findings informed the revisions to the strategy. The investigation was situated within the author’s research for a Doctor in Business Administration (DBA). The research methodology used was action research and the rationale for adopting this approach for the investigation is explored briefly, identifying some of the issues faced by the researcher in conducting research in her own organisation.