The assessment of institutional capability for e-learning, distance or flexible learning is a process which results in a generalised statement of overall capability based on evidence from a sample of the institution’s programmes.
I’m currently involved in a major project to assess the institutional capability for e-learning of 20 institutes of technology and polytechnics throughout New Zealand. The project is co-ordinated by Terry Neal and aims to report back early in 2008.
The capability model used is the eLearning Maturity Model (eMM) developed by Stephen Marshall of Victoria University.
The eMM model assesses capability in five broad process areas…
I’m interested in how the concept of capability is used in a variety of ways, encompassing individual or professional capability as well as institutional or even sector-wide capability. And how do these overlap? That is, what is the relationship between institutional and professional capability?
A key premise of the eMM model is that we need to move on from ‘ad-hoc’ development. But my personal opinion is that institutional capability backed up by effective systems should not preclude early adopters from engaging in ongoing innovation and exploration of new technologies and new pedagogies. So we need a balance between the consistency brought about by strong top-down systems and the fostering of individual innovation and development.
This quote from Futurelab’s recent report on Social Software and Learning caught my eye:
...interoperability does not necessarily have to be realised through rigid standards, which may be counter-productive to innovation....We also need to ensure that such change does not ossify in a centrally managed programme, but instead retains a sensitivity to the specific and localised needs of different groups of learners and teachers.