Monday, April 21, 2008

ROI of eLearning II

In November 2006, I posted the first section on ROI of eLearning, and posted some questions on why getting financial quantifications on gains that can be attributed to the investment on eLearning especially in Higher Education.
Recently, a JISC funded initiative continued to define and enumerate “tangible benefits” of eLearning that could be used as an indicative measure of ROI. The benefits are in a report entitled: Exploring Tangible Benefits of e-Learning: Does Investment yield interest . Among the tangible benefits identified in the report are:
  • Effect on learning (e.g. context, style, insight and reflective practice)
  • Effect on exam results
  • Effect on student personal development (e.g. skills, employability, confidence)
  • Student satisfaction with e-learning (e.g. effect on motivation, attendance and enjoyment, as shown in national survey, institutional survey, module evaluation, focus groups, or other)
  • Innovation in teaching, learning and assessment (e.g. stimulus to creative approaches)
  • Influence on educational research
  • Staff satisfaction with e-learning
  • Effect on staff personal development (e.g. skills, employability, confidence)
  • Influence on recruitment (students or staff; e.g. through greater accessibility; opening up new markets)
  • Influence on retention (e.g. students or staff)
  • Influence on policy (e.g. institutional, faculty/school, departmental, or other extra- institutional body)
  • Effect on resources (e.g. effect on cost of delivery, time, applying full economic costing to teaching and learning)
  • Modifications to learning spaces (e.g. libraries, wireless networks, informal learning spaces)
  • Effect on management of learning assets (e.g. institutional IP, repositories)
  • Effect on a social justice agenda (e.g. widening participation, provision of space for consideration of differing or challenging perspectives).

I am yet to read the whole report but as I do, more questions that I asked in 2006 still linger. How for instance do you tell the difference in effects on learning that are as a result of eLearning? And not, say, as a result of student’s personal initiative, extrinsic motivation (e.g. having to get a job promotion after completion of a course), what is the effects of learners’ innovativeness when it comes to using technology tools that can be attributed to effects on learning? Can we measure and ascertain that good grades in an exam can be attributed to the use of eLearning only? Hopefully, I will get insights or partial answers or convincing arguments on this and more questions as I read the the report.