WikiEdProfessional eLearning Guidebook/Management and implementation of eLearning/Preconditions of e-learning

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E-learning, like any organized educational activity is a very complex undertaking. Many organizations seeking to engage in e-learning activities quite often overlook the fact that its successful deployment requires the same level of diligence and rigor in its planning, management and implementation that is necessary in setting up conventional education systems. In fact, e-learning has added elements such as the technology infrastructure that require attention far beyond that is necessary in conventional educational settings.

Furthermore, e-learning is neither a cheap nor an easy educational option. It does not offer a quick fix for problems associated with dwindling enrollments, distance education, or poor teaching and learning. Lack of careful planning and implementation of e-learning can actually lead to decreasing standards and morale, poor performance in learning and teaching, and wasted resources and loss of revenue.

Any efforts to embark on e-learning must be preceded by very careful planning. This would necessarily comprise, strategic and operational planning that are consistent with the values, mission and goals of an organization. Educational organizations that have a history of employing alternative approaches to learning and teaching such as distance education will have many of the prerequisites and dispositions for e-learning already in place which they can easily capitalize and build upon. However, conventional campus-based educational organizations that have traditionally relied on residential face-to-face classroom-based learning and teaching activity would need to reconsider their values, mission and goals of educational provision in order to adequately accommodate the adoption of e-learning activities.

A critical component of this orienting or reorienting for the successful adoption of e-learning is institutional sponsorship. For e-learning to succeed in any setting, there has to be complete support for the initiative from the highest levels. This is important not only because it will have implications for funding allocation for any such new initiative, but also because of its implications for the mindset of the rest of the organization. Staff needs to buy into the initiative and be committed to its success (Hawkridge, 1979). Without this kind of a ground swell of support and commitment from its foot solders, any such new initiative is doomed for failure in any organization. These are the preconditions for the successful deployment of e-learning, and they have to be in place as part of the preparation for its deployment in any organization. Without adequate attention to these preconditions, e-learning is unlikely to achieve its full potential in any organization, no matter how robust and reliable is its technology and the infrastructure to support it.