Reflect, review, renew: how the eLearning Maturity Model (eMM), a benchmarking tool, encourages reflection feedback and change.

John Clayton, Adam McMillan
Waikato Institute of Technology, New Zealand

Benchmarking is based on the concept of comparison and measurement. While the results obtained by benchmarking can often be misused and may be treated with suspicion, when used appropriately the findings of the benchmarking process can help the provider reflect on their strengths and weaknesses, facilitate organisational understanding and inform organisational implementations (HEAEDST, 2008). The e-Learning Maturity Model (eMM) is a benchmarking tool designed to ensure educational organisation investments in e-learning design, development and deployment are meeting the needs of the learners, trainers and the organisation (Marshall, 2006).In March 2008 the Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) received the benchmark results from the eMM tool (Left, Neal, & Marshall, 2008) which outlined the strengths and weaknesses of 35 e-learning processes within Wintec. A fine grained analysis, using the eMM Process Assessment Workbook (Marshall, 2006a), identified one process in particular, “E2: Teaching staff are able to provide regular formal and informal feedback on quality and effectiveness of their e-learning experience (E2)”, which was deemed to be significant to the activities of professional development staff.This paper presentation will begin with an overview of the E2 process and explore our institutes maturity and weakness as measured by the indicators associated with this process. It will then identify and outline the professional development initiatives offered to encourage staff reflection and elicit feedback thus providing evidence to drive change at an individual and institutional level. These initiatives include the development and ongoing support for an on-line community of practice enhancing the pedagogical understanding of staff, the scheduling of regular face-to-face staff discussion forums to identify and disseminate best practice, and the provision of “one-to-one” staff support in portfolio development and reflective practice. Finally, the presentation will provide a preliminary report on the effectiveness of the initiatives undertaken and how they have impacted on teaching practice.Higher Education Academy Evaluation and Dissemination Support Team (HEAEDST). 2008. Challenges and Realisations from the Higher Education Academy/JISC Benchmarking and Pathfinder Programme. Higher Education http://elearning.heacademy.ac.uk/weblogs/pathfinder/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/Bench_and_PathFinalReview20080926.pdfLeft, P., Neal, T. & Marshall, S. 2008, March. Report on the Distance and Flexible Education Capability Assessment of Waikato Institute of Technology, Blended Learning Solutions. Wellington.Marshall, S. 2006. E-Learning Maturity Model Version Two: New Zealand Tertiary Institution E-Learning Capability: Informing and Guiding E-Learning Architectural Change and Development Project Report. Report to the New Zealand Ministry of Education. Wellington. http://cms.steo.govt.nz/elearning/projects/showall.htmMarshall, S. (2006a). E-Learning Maturity Model: Process Assessment Workbook. http://www.utdc.vuw.ac.nz/research/emm/documents/versiontwo/20060726Workbook.pdf