USING A BENCHMARKING TOOL TO INFORM FUTURE INVESTMENT IN E-LEARNING AT A NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Benchmarking is based on the concept of comparison and measurement. While the results obtained by benchmarking can often be misused and may be treated with suspicion, when used appropriately the findings of the benchmarking process can help the provider reflect on their strengths and weaknesses, facilitate organisational understanding and inform organisational implementations (HEAEDST, 2008). The e-Learning Maturity Model (eMM) is a benchmarking tool designed to ensure that educational organisation investments in e-learning design, development and deployment are meeting the needs of the learners, trainers and the organisation (Marshall, 2006).
In March 2008 the Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) received the benchmark results from the eMM tool (Left, Neal, & Marshall, 2008) which outlined the strengths and weaknesses of 35 e-learning processes within Wintec. A fine grained analysis, using the eMM Process Assessment Workbook (Marshall, 2006a), identified one process in particular, “L8: Assessment of students is designed to progressively build their competence (L8)”, which was deemed to be significant to the activities of professional development staff.
This paper presentation will begin with an overview of the eMM tool and will then focus on the L8 process, exploring our institute’s maturity and weakness as measured by the indicators associated with this process. It will then identify and outline the professional development initiatives offered to build staff capability to implement effective, valid and secure assessments through Moodle, the learning management system deployed at Wintec. These initiatives include the development and ongoing support for an on-line community of practice enhancing the pedagogical understanding of staff, the scheduling of regular face-to-face staff discussion forums to identify and disseminate best practice in on-line assessment and moderation, and the provision of appropriate workshops to build staff technical competence.
Higher Education Academy Evaluation and Dissemination Support Team (HEAEDST). (2008). Challenges and Realisations from the Higher Education Academy/JISC Benchmarking and Pathfinder Programme. Higher Education Academy. Retrieved January 14, 2009, from: http://elearning.heacademy.ac.uk/weblogs/pathfinder/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/Bench_and_PathFinalReview20080926.pdf
Left, P., Neal, T. & Marshall, S. (2008, March). Report on the Distance and Flexible Education Capability Assessment of Waikato Institute of Technology, Blended Learning Solutions. Wellington.
Marshall, S. (2006). E-Learning Maturity Model Version Two: New Zealand Tertiary Institution E-Learning Capability: Informing and Guiding E-Learning Architectural Change and Development Project Report. Report to the New Zealand Ministry of Education. Wellington. Retrieved January 14, 2009, from: http://cms.steo.govt.nz/elearning/projects/showall.htm
Marshall, S. (2006a). E-Learning Maturity Model: Process Assessment Workbook. Retrieved January 14, 2009, from: http://www.utdc.vuw.ac.nz/research/emm/documents/versiontwo/20060726Workbook.pdf