Watch one or both of the following videos relating to TEL projects at an institutional and course level. Reflect upon the successes/failures highlighted by the presentations.
- Institutional project – VLE Review project at Imperial College London, Julie Voce, E-learning Services Manager. (Length: 11:26)
Reflection on successes and failures on above video:
This project highlighted 3 key successes:
- Delivering decision within 1 month of original timescales
- Thorough evaluation of VLE’s
- Set up and migration to new VLE of over 500 courses within 4 months
The value of undertaking a thorough evaluation of a VLE should not be under estimated. It is crucial for the success of a new service that all of it’s features are tested against the criteria identified in the specification documentation. You need to be able to ensure that the chosen product is fit for purpose and will meet the needs of the institution on many different levels. It is key to get input from all stakeholders, in particular, the students to the specification document. WIthout understanding the expectation from the users at all levels, how will you know when you have met those expectations? Gathering lots of feedback via polls and surveys are good, but face to face works best as you can really begin to unpick statements and expectations from the stakeholders.
Bringing the project in on time and completing the migration smoothly are key to the uptake of the new system. Removing barriers to the uptake of the new system is key to its success. Obvious barriers that those resistant to change come up with is that there is a danger that change process takes too long and you quickly lose the attention of staff.
Key failures of this project
- Communication – Even now some people seem unaware the review took place
- Timescales – The review took longer due to starting when students were not around
Utilising automation workflows, it usually is quite easy to get systems to migrate courses over to new systems. What is harder is getting the staff to transfer their learning materials over to the new system. In previous roles, I have achieved this with good, clear communications about the change process. A good strategy is as follows:
- Tell people what you are going to do and when you are going to do it (set up the expectation)
- Give them plenty of notice of step 1
- Repeat notifications 1 month before, 2 weeks before 1 week before and 1 day before.
- Do exactly what you said you would do on the day you said you would do it.
- Tell people via announcements that you have completed step 1
- Invite feedback.
Thinking about a project you have been involved with, consider the following:
- Who were your stakeholders?
- What resources were used?
- How clear/achievable was the project plan?
- What fallback position, if any, did you build into your plan in the event of full or partial project failure?
- What methods did you use to evaluate your project?
- How did you measure project success?
- Did you celebrate your success and did this encourage further developments?
I am discussing the implementation of a new VLE in a previous role as the Learning Resources Manager in an FE College.
- Our stakeholders were anyone who might need to use the VLE:
Tier 1: Students; lecturers; administrators; managers;
Tier 2 external examiners; parents;
Tier 3: governors; prospective students
- Web surveys, face to face groups, student focus groups, email, working groups, staff council, academic team meeting feedback
- The project plan set out clear deliverable in a Project Initiation Document and the mapping of the outcomes was done in a mapping tool to measure the levels of achievement against each goal. Milestones were set and the project was put in to a GANTT chart to identify pinch points and possible project slippage.
- The old VLE was kept on board for a full year whils the new VLE was set up, account migrated and content structure developed. A full back up of the old VLE was alos kept in the advent of any dataloss. IN the event of a total project failure, I.E. the new VLE simply failed on every level, the old VLE was kept alive and would have been used until a suitable replacement could have been found. Only when the criteria were met and the project team and senior management team were satisfied that the migration was successful was the old VLE taken down.
- We used the same information gathering channels as number 2 to get our data. The evaluation of success was measured against the KPIs set out in the PID as well as qualitative, localised data.
- See 5 above.
- Success were celebrated through awarding digital badges for the most active users of the VLE. This was a new scheme that incentivised the VLE recognising those staff who embraced it and engaged with it the most. This way, each department’s top users of the VLE got a personal mention and a league table was set up to quickly add a competitive element to the VLE usage.