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Take the e-lead

College managers have their own e-learning to do, judging by the results of the Becta survey (see story, right), writes Jill Parkin .

"This would suggest that senior managers are not aware of the benefits that can be achieved by using the technology effectively," says Lesley Price, assistant director of Institutional Policy and Development (Learning and Skills) for Becta.

One of the problems is that e-learning is all too often seen as a cost-saving and job replacement strategy, a view that the FE sector has a duty to dispel, believes Mary Barker, managing director of the Association of CollegesNational Information and Learning Technologies Association.

"New senior managers should have an ILT or e-learning qualification; existing managers should take part in relevant staff development if necessary. This will give senior managers an understanding of e-learning theory, and also allow them to understand the pedagogies behind the delivery method," she says.

AoCNilta tips:

* Ensure wide understanding of your e-learning strategy.

* Share developments to avoid duplication of effort, lack of common standards, staff isolation, higher workload.

* Automate processes wherever possible, reducing administrative burden.

* Integrate e-learning into initial staff induction and expect staff to use it as part of their everyday life.

* Introduce slowly, at a pace slightly less than wanted, so staff ask for more.

* Consult, consult, consult - with all staff at all stages of the change.

* Understand the costs of sustainability, including maintenance, technical support, upgrading, and replacement. Don't go for cheapest, but for inter-operability.

* Tutors need to be confident thate-learning tools will work. Enhance communications between your curriculum and technical staff.

Further info:

Becta produces "Demonstrating Transformation: a guide to e-learning, inspection and self assessment for colleges and providers of adult education and training". It helps senior managers negotiate the Common Inspection Framework, which inspects post-16 education and training.

Two other Becta toolkits are in the pipeline: "Total Cost of Ownership" takes the user through all the costs of ICT; and "E-learning Strategy Matrix" is an online planning tool.

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