It has become increasingly evident that if not correctly planned, configured, and fully utilised to take advantage of all available features and functionalities, the procurement and implementation of educational technologies (in particular learning management systems or LMS) does not automatically guarantee the achievement of genuine educational value. Without meticulous preparation and planning, serious pedagogical concerns over the actual learning effectiveness of technologies when applied to learning and teaching will inevitably emerge.
Moreover, when not carefully integrated into the procedures and processes of the organisational structure, and if not strategically aligned to address the unique issues and needs of Faculties, Schools, lecturers, and most important students, an LMS (for example) can become an expensive means of indexing and delivering very ordinary content, adding little or no educational benefit. The preferred goal of installing an LMS or any educational technology is that it is used as a tool to support active learning and productive knowledge construction.
A common misconception that occurs while establishing on online learning programme is to focus only on the technology, the design, and the content. Although all these factors are important, the most crucial requirement is to enable lecturing staff to adjust to and effectively and efficiently teach in the online environment. Alongside this pivotal need is the intricate task of realigning the organisational procedures and processes to truly allow the seamless integration of online learning and its related procedures and processes into everyday institution wide work practices.
With rapidly changing information technology developments and the perennial challenge of restructuring educational environments to adapt to increasing demands for personalised learning opportunities, the comprehensive evaluation of educational technologies and their learning effectiveness should always be the primary motive. Without it, the learning support and enhancement potential of chosen technologies will yield unpredictable and unwelcome results when comparing across different learning contexts, different technologies, different schools and individual lecturers, different course content, and different learning strategies.
In other words, the intended learning outcomes can only be as effective as the planning that occurs before the technology is chosen and implemented. It is from this point onwards that genuine improvements in learning can ultimately be realised. It is also why the LTEF has been purpose built to facilitate this crucial preliminary stage in the development of high quality online learning programmes. Once established, the LTEF then has the capacity to ensure that the quality assurance processes can be sustained for the life of the organisation’s online programmes.