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ACODE is the eponymously named benchmarking scheme that was developed by the Australasian Council on Open, Distance and E-Learning, whose web site is at

Development of this started in 2004 as a pilot project. There is a project page with a useful history and several key documents. The scheme was for some months available in draft form while it awaited final external peer review. This is now complete and the final version is now available. A useful feature is a Change Document describing the external and internal review comments and the ACODE responses

The ACODE system is a criterion-based system where criteria (divided into eight main benchmark areas) are scored on a 1-5 scale with the help of scoring statements, some rather general, some quite detailed. It takes a relatively wide view of benchmarking e-learning, ensuring linkage with general learning and teaching, with IT and with staff development processes. The use of the word "alignment" indicates that it has been affected by the MIT90s 5-node/alignment approach that has been used in several Australian studies (especially from Yetton and Wills) in change management, but there is no explicit use of Venkatraman-style transformation levels.

Relevance to UK HE

The ACODE scheme can be regarded as a contribution to the Criterion Bank. In other words, it provides suggestions for criteria to be added as new supplementary criteria to the Pick&Mix or ELTI methodologies. It was also recommended to institutions using the MIT90s approach in Phase 1 as it provides suggestions for criteria of a more IT-oriented nature.

Historical information

  • The May 2006 draft specifications are still for the moment available.
  • There were ACODE press releases of 18-19 May 2006 and 16-17 November 2005.
  • An ACODE statement of January 2006 noted that in "December 2005: Dr Stephen Marshall (Victoria University of Wellington) surveyed members on how well supported students are with regard to IT support and access to helpdesk". This is the Dr Stephen Marshall who is the author of the e-Learning Maturity Model methodology (eMM) for benchmarking e-learning, and so it might have been likely that there would be some eMM influence on ACODE; however there is no explicit use of dimensions in the ACODE scheme.
  • Information on an impending potential ACODE scheme was given in a presentation by Paul Bacsich in November 2005 at the University of Sydney.

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