Organisational approaches to e-learning in the tertiary sector: An annotated bibliography

Tertiary sector organisations have developed a range of approaches around planning and implementing eLearning. This report gives an overview of some of the research literature relating to a variety of approaches.

The executive summary for the report reads as follows:

The key findings of this annotated bibliography are:

  • The most common organisational approach to e-learning is where high-level objectives and supporting policies and plans are set centrally but the responsibility for implementing these is at the faculty or departmental level.
  • Organisational approaches to e-learning are more likely to be successful when they are supported by institutional strategies, policies, plans, monitoring and evaluation. E-learning strategies are more likely to be effective if they take into account organisational culture and are underpinned by a rationale that has strong support from stakeholders.
  • Organisations need to consider student preferences. They also need to ensure students have the skills and capabilities needed for success in e-learning. It is also important that organisations provide relevant and timely support, particularly technical, for both their students and staff.
  • Organisations need to provide infrastructure that supports their e-learning objectives and meets stakeholder and learner needs. It is important that organisational ICT systems can link with each other and with students’ information technology devices.
  • Staff development and support are essential if organisations are to adopt e-learning successfully. Organisations should consider providing incentives for staff to adopt e-learning and participate in associated development. Staff efforts in adopting e-learning also need to be recognised. Staff must be given time to explore and experiment when they are adopting e-learning.
  • Benchmarking of e-learning capability has been used by a number of organisations. Benchmarking can be used not only for comparisons with other similar organisations but also to more clearly identify performance in an e-learning context.
  • It is unclear if organisations can save money through e-learning. While it requires investment in infrastructure, staff development and the creation of supporting materials and resources, cost savings are possible. Savings are derived not only from economies of scale but also from other measures such as reuse of materials.


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About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ ( I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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