Managing the Implementation of Blended e-Learning Initiatives with the Unconverted in a Climate of Institutionally Driven Change

Owen, Hazel; Allardice, Rory
January 2008
International Journal of Learning;2008, Vol. 14 Issue 9, p179
Academic Journal
Theories of technology-enhanced learning are evolving alongside daily advances in technology, increasing expectations of graduates by employers, and shifting student expectations as to the place of technology in their education. As a result, educational institutions are confronted with periods of transition where curricula are adjusted, and educators are expected to adopt new skills and integrate technology into their existing classroom practices. There is no proven method to guarantee the successful integration of new information and communication technology (ICT) into ESL courses. General guidelines do however exist and managers, administrators and educators can take these into consideration at the planning, implementation and subsequent stages. These, along with sensitive change management can make the transition smoother. Specific reference is made in this paper to the management of change in the innovative enhancement of a Diploma level ESL curriculum with blended learning at Dubai Men's College - an English-medium, tertiary vocational institution in the U.A.E. The process, from policy decisions to practical implementation, is charted detailing a longitudinal approach to the evolution and adoption of blended learning by the team of teachers, their manager and an e-learning specialist. The aim of this paper is discuss some of the internal dynamics of the process, including coping with resistance and obstacles (such as skill sets of faculty, time restraints, fixed pedagogical approaches, and student expectations of themselves as learners), as well as using a curriculum-focussed method, considering how to cope with mandatory system requirements, and motivating change leaders. Results from critical evaluative reflection are included, along with recommendations for further improvements to the implementation and feedback process. Based on our experiences, we suggest a process model for change, in conjunction with practical recommendations for educational institutions planning to instigate (or already instigating) elearning initiatives.


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