The phrase "eMM" is the commonly used abbreviation for the longer phrase "e-learning Maturity Model". This is the name of one of the methodologies that was trialled in the Higher Education Academy Benchmarking Pilot, by the University of Manchester and is now being used by seven universities in Phase 2.
Note that the eMM and associated documentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
From the Higher Education Academy briefing on eMM
Informed extensively by related work in process improvement models the eMM was developed in the context of the New Zealand Tertiary sector. The eMM is based on the principle that an organisation's processes mature along a five step model of capability moving from "ad hoc" to a "culture of continuous improvement". In the context of e-learning there are five process categories for the organisation to consider:
- Learning – processes that directly impact on the pedagogical aspects of e-Learning
- Development - processes surrounding the creation and maintenance of e-Learning resources
- Co-ordination (now called Support) – processes surrounding the oversight and management of e-Learning
- Evaluation – processes surrounding the evaluation and quality control of e-Learning through its entire lifecycle.
- Organisation – processes associated with institutional planning and management.
Each process category encapsulates sets of practices (again based on previous work). For example, the process category "Learning" contains the practice statement "Courses are designed to require students to engage themselves in analysis, synthesis, and evaluation as part of their course and programme requirements."
Performance of these practices in each process category is assessed on a six point scale of 0 (not performed), 1 (initial - ad-hoc processes), 2 (planned – clear and measurable objectives for e-learning projects), 3 (defined – defined processes for development and support of e-learning), 4 (managed – ensuring the quality of e-Learning resources and student learning outcomes), 5 (optimising – continual improvement in all aspects of the e-Learning process).
The eMM literature suggests that the benefits of such an assessment could include:
- providing HEIs with a roadmap for e-learning process improvement
- provide a framework for long-term institutional planning
- help prioritise improvements in practice; provide a technology-neutral framework for collaboration and comparison with other institutions
- facilitation of dialogue with the e-learning community about
- identifying the key elements necessary for improvement in e-learning activities.
The eMM scheme was not used as such in Phase 1. However, it continued to be used at the University of Manchester.
It is also the case that eMM can be regarded as a Criterion Bank. In other words, it can provide suggestions for criteria to be added as new supplementary criteria to the Pick&Mix or ELTI methodologies. (This has already happened to some extent for Pick&Mix as a result of the Concordance Project.) It could also have provided suggestions for criteria to Phase 1 institutions using the MIT90s approach but it seems that none of them have taken up this idea.
In Phase 2 there are seven institutions using eMM:
- Members of the Worldwide Universities Network
- Distance teaching organisations
- Welsh Institutions, both with a strong tradition of teaching in both languages
Outside and beyond Phase 2
The following information is available:
- A cut-down variant of eMM is being used in the Scottish colleges benchmarking scheme with 43 colleges.
- It is believed that there will shortly be a trial of eMM in Australia under the auspices of ACODE. In this context see the paper recently presented at Educause Australasia 2007.
- It is also the case that eMM continues to be used in New Zealand.
- There is also growing interest in eMM in some US universities and in at least one other distance teaching university.
- Full details of eMM can be found at the master site http://www.utdc.vuw.ac.nz/research/emm/index.shtml.
- Version 2 of eMM has changed considerably from the Version 1 of 2003, as noted at http://www.utdc.vuw.ac.nz/research/emm/VersionTwo.shtml.
- There is also now a blog, at http://artemis.utdc.vuw.ac.nz:8000/pebble/tags/eMM.
- There is ongoing work on developing a subset of eMM more narrowly focussed on UK HE needs.
Operational information for users of eMM
For Welsh institutions using eMM there is also a tentative mapping of eMM to Indicators of Success for which we solicit comment.