CAMEL Tangible Benefits of e-Learning
See the final report and case study template the project developed
The CAMEL Tangible Benefits of e-Learning Project aimed to collate and share the tangible and real benefits to staff, learners and institutions of e-learning, through a discipline and academic department focus by using the CAMEL model devised by JISC infoNet and ALT. Its objectives were to produce: up to 16 institutional case studies, with a subject discipline focus, to identify tangible benefits of e-learning; and report on the CAMEL workshops and evaluation of the process (also identifying any real or perceived weaknesses or threats of e-learning). The final outputs are 37 case studies from 16 institutions, so the project has exceeded its original case study target.
The approach taken was to: agree a template for the case studies and set up a wiki so that participants could collaborate online; hold a series of 24-hour workshops during which participants would question, challenge and reflect on each others' practice; continue the exchanges online to finalise the case studies; and synthesise the outcomes for JISC and the wider community.
The case studies, incorporating a rich selection of media including graphics, video and simulation games, were developed on a password-protected wiki. The material is currently being redeveloped as a searchable web resource.
The case studies, a report synthesising the findings and a short briefing paper will be launched at the annual JISC Conference on 15th April 2008
Findings and conclusions
Participants commented that the project had altered their perception of the tangible benefits of e-learning and made them consider both the quantitative and qualitative aspects as well as the varying perspectives on benefits according to different stakeholder viewpoints. Whilst the project participants gained most value from the process of critical reflection itself, they also valued the end products, i.e. the actual case studies. Participants identified the cross-disciplinary interaction as one of the most useful elements of the project.
The most fundamental point to come out of all of the case studies is that the appropriate use of technology is leading to significant improvements in learning and teaching across the sector and that this is translating into improved satisfaction, retention and achievement. E-Learning is facilitating the expansion of the sector without necessitating corresponding increases in the footprint of the physical estate and it is allowing broadly the same numbers of staff to educate a larger and more diverse student body. The kind of high quality, diverse, accessible, expanding higher education system desired by government and funders is no longer possible without e-learning.
Continued investment and innovation in the field of e-learning is essential if the UK is to remain a world leader in education.