The Canadian eLearning Enterprise Alliance (CeLEA) has recently released its new e-book Plan to Learn: case studies in e-learning project management. Edited by Beverly Pasian (who is working on her PhD in project management) and Dr. Gary Woodill (who has recently become Senior Researcher at Brandon Hall Research), this volume of 22 case studies from 8 countries documents the successes and failures of a variety of e-learning implementations. Case studies are drawn from the higher education, K-12, government, non-profit and corporate sectors. The book also contains a thorough review of the literature on elearning project management. To obtain your free copy, go to www.celea-aceel.ca.
This 192 page PDF from CeLEA covers dozens of case studies on e-learning management (focus = A-DDI-E). Almost all of the cases are academic situations, using the online course model, so this book would be best suited for those developing e-learning in higher education. There is little mention of performance support, knowledge management, communities of practice, or informal learning. Nor is there much reference to aligning the learning methods to operational or business requirements.
One exception is a case study on developing math skills for nurses at Mount Royal College. In this case, the work requirement, or gap, was quite clear:
According to a May 2004 study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal, one in nineteen adults will be given the wrong medication or dosage upon a hospital visit.
The goal was defined, though too academic in my mind:
The goal of the online Nursing Math Tutorial was to ensure that nursing students were successful in their clinical courses without the need for so much time.
A better goal would have been to reduce the number of incorrect dosages. This is obviously the performance they were really trying to achieve.
The design considered the context of the work:
The intention of the tutorial was to provide practical information to the learner, that being the basic principles and illustrations of math sequences and their relation to practical clinical settings.
However, the ADDIE model seems to have been too constraining and resource-intensive:
In the creation of the online Nursing Math Tutorial, the successes arose from creative project management solutions, which conserved resources and maintained a higher quality of student learning as a result.
I’m wondering if a better approach in this case may have been to create a series of contextual visualizations on the necessary math concepts. These could then be placed in an online collaborative environment, such as Elgg, and the learners themselves could have constructed meaning around these visual artifacts, through discussions with each other and with facilitators. Some of the visualizations could also be the test objects, such as, “here is a case, calculate the dosage”.
For those in the thick of e-learning course development, you may find some helpful nuggets in these pages. Most of the cases discuss tools for learner-to-learner discussions, so we are seeing clear moves away from just information dissemination. However, if you’re looking for innovative performance-oriented alternatives to ADDIE, you will have to look elsewhere.