Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mapping your e-Learning journey


The e-learning planning framework is a tool to help teachers and school reflect on and evaluate their e-learning capability.  It can be used to support schools through a process of self-review and ongoing development and improvements, by identifying their current position and therefore indicating what their potential next steps may be.  There are five dimensions within the eLPF - Beyond the Classroom,  Learning and Teaching, Technologies and Infrastructure, Professional Learning and Leadership and Strategic Direction.  Running across the dimensions are five phases of 'e-maturity' that describe how technology is adopted and integrated into teaching and learning. The phases are pre-emerging, emerging, engaging, extending and empowering,  and "the phases not only describe development in technology integration, but also describe pedagogical development, from teacher-directed to collaborative, co-constructed learning" (Enabling e-Learning).

In 2010, I was extremely fortunate to be a part of the original CORE Education team who created the eLPF and can assure you it was a difficult task to create succinct but relevant indicators for each dimension, across each stage, that fit the NZ educational context but aligned to other national and international research.  We spent months researching prior to the consultation phase and Stephen Marshall's e-Learning Maturity Model-eMM played a huge part in informing our work, as did Hall & Hord's Concerns-based adoption model - CBAM and Mishra and Koehler's Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge - TPAK

What is really pleasing to see is the improvements to the original framework we produced.  The first version was lacking any real and meaningful links to whānau besides within the Beyond the Classroom dimension, mainly due to the restrictions in the size of the document, trying to keep things concise and not too lengthy.  Now, important links to whānau and the wider community are found throughout almost all dimensions.  What also was missing was the ability for whānau and students to engage and offer their perspective.  It is fantastic to see latest versions have made those improvements and the framework now offers the opportunity for students and whānau, as well as staff to complete it.    What is also exciting is when we first released the eLPF, it was in a document form only, released on Enabling e-Learning and linked to form the Virtual Learning Network (VLN).  It quickly became obvious that for this tool to be truly useful for schools, it needed a more in-depth, responsive way of administering the framework and allowing people to engage with it, collate the data and then provide an analysis of this data, as many schools were struggling with this part.

So What?
The development of the flexible and efficient eLPF online tool made the administration and analysis of the eLPF data so much easier and more valuable for schools as it provided them with an overall picture of where they were at and therefore, what their next steps might be.   I I would encourage you, if you are able to and haven't already, to look at the using the eLPF online tool at your own school.

It is also important to consider what questions may go unanswered.  What can the eLPF not offer or tell you?  Having been involved with the eLPF from its conception here in NZ and used the tool as both a facilitator of professional development, a teacher and now as a school leader I feel I can accurately identify what is still unclear for me.  The questions that I still have after using the eLPF is how accurate can you be when mapping you school position at each dimension against a phase of development?  I know for a fact, every time I have administered the eLPF, there is a huge range of responses, but to be able to position your school overall, the average tends to become the default.  How do you record this succinctly within your findings, without going into a blow by blow analysis of each staff member?

One of the biggest challenges I have seen happen often with the use of the eLPF in schools is the tendency for schools to travel backwards on their journey!  Quite often the first time schools administer the eLPF and teachers complete the online tool, the results can indicate that a school is working at the extending and empowering phases.  However, the next time the elpf is administered it shows a shift backwards, with the school now positioned at emerging or engaging.  This can raise a lot of questions for staff and leaders in particularly.  What I have found is the reason for this is that when staff start looking closely at what specifically is happening in their classrooms, what their next steps are and they start to research and plan changes necessary to better meet the needs of modern learners, teachers often find out that their original evaluation of where they thought they were was incorrect.  It often comes down to 'You don't know what you don't know', meaning that as teachers learn more about what e-capability looks like at the empowering stage, the more they realise that there is still a long way to go.  And that this is an ongoing process, often with a feeling of one step forward, two steps back.  This is precisely why the image below shows circular arrows to indicate that this is a process of inquiry, where you will often need to re-work, re-learn things multiple times.  It clearly shows that at each phase you may go around and around for sometime before finding your way forward.  It also highlights that at the beginning phases, pre-emerging and emerging, the focus for schools and staff can often be driven by the technologies but as you move through the phases, the decisions within a school about relating to the 5 dimensions become driven by curriculum learning needs rather than just about the technology.
Image retrieved from

Now What?
Prior to me working at Cobham Intermediate, they used the eLPF online tool with staff and school leadership in 2014 to identify where they were placed.  I would like to re-administer the online tool, bringing in members from our students, BoT and parents this time to add to the wider picture of where we now are.  I want to use this information and data to help us design our new strategic plan for ICT/e-Learning at Cobham Intermediate for 2016-2018.  I also hope that by re-administering the eLPF later in this term, we will be able to see some clear areas of shift for our staff and this will give them a good sense of achievement and confidence, being able to look back and see what impact the shift to BYOD is having on the development of teacher skills and knowledge and more importantly, the impact on student engagement and achievement.


Enabling e-Learning (2011) . Professional Learning: e-Learning Planning Framework. Retrieved from 

Hall & Hord. (1987). The Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM): A Model for Change in Individuals.[Electronic version]

Mishra & Koehler. (2006) Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK). [Electronic version]

Marshall, S. (2010). A Quality Framework for Continuous Improvement of E-Learning: The E-Learning Maturity Model. Journal of Distance Education 24(1):143-166.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tamara. Really interesting post! How awesome that you were part of the team who made the eLPF! That must have been a valuable experience. I agree with your comments on how some schools go 'backwards' in their e-learning journey. I think leaders need to be aware that ongoing and relevant PD is essential, and that change is a process.