Justifying the costs of LT (Workshop 0250)


11:30 - 12:30 on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 in Room B62


250 Justifying the cost of learning technology: a workshop to develop the business case for investment
Caroline Breslin, Diane McDonald, David Nicol


250 Justifying the cost of learning technology: a workshop to develop the business case for investment
Caroline Breslin, Diane McDonald, David Nicol
The Further and Higher Education sectors continue to witness significant investment in ICT to support education. Investments can range from general developments in underlying ICT infrastructure to the ongoing support and maintenance of specialist eLearning applications. Particularly in the current economic climate with an expected reduction in HE funding, it is becoming increasingly important for educational institutions to demonstrate value for money and to justify the costs of services. Expected improvements in learning may constitute a business case for new investments and it is prudent that future investment decisions are based on an informed understanding of the impact of prior investments. The JISC-funded Benefits of Investment in ICT Landscape Study (BIILS) explored current evaluation practice within the educational sector via survey, interview and case study development, and investigated approaches used in other sectors. The main output was an Evaluation Toolkit (Breslin et al. 2008) designed to aid managers and practitioners in the sector to compare and contrast evaluation techniques that can be applied to inform decision making on appropriate approaches for different types of investment. This workshop will draw on the BIILS work above as well as a range of other related work (e.g. Nicol and Coen 2003) in order to explore appropriate evaluation techniques which managers, policy-makers and practitioners in the field of learning technology can use to assess the costs and benefits of learning technology investments. Participants will conduct a series of activities designed firstly to explore how the full costs of a particular learning technology can be identified. Secondly, how the full range of benefits afforded by a particular learning technology can be identified and their impact assessed, and thirdly how the realisation of particular benefits can be evaluated in practice; with a focus on how different types of benefit may have to be assessed and ‘measured’ using different evaluation techniques. Skills and knowledge developed as a result of the workshop can be used practically in the educational field in a decision making context to develop and evaluate business cases for investment or to retrospectively evaluate investments already made.