The effectiveness of vehicles promoting eLearning professional development : a research thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management in Communication Management at Massey University, Manawatu
The influence of vehicles, such as email, websites, and newsletters, to promote eLearning professional development is an area of study that is marked by a lack of research. The aim of this thesis is to develop an understanding of the role that the vehicles used to promote formal eLearning professional development opportunities play in influencing staff awareness of academic development programmes. Using questionnaires and semi-structured interviews, seven groups of Massey University staff were asked to recall and assess the effectiveness of the vehicles used to promote eLearning professional development. The research also drew on web metrics data to provide an observational assessment of the popularity of the University eLearning professional development webpage.
The results suggest that motivation plays a key part in staff awareness of formal eLearning professional development opportunities and the vehicles used to promote them. Further, motivation and institutional factors, such as an institutional eLearning strategy, are interrelated. Therefore the vehicles used to promote eLearning professional development need to be varied and focused on the strengths of each vehicle. There is also potential to use eLearning professional development courses themselves as effective means of promoting other eLearning opportunities. Additionally, the findings suggest that technology-reliant vehicles, such as email and websites, help in converting staff interest in eLearning into action in the form of enrolment into professional development courses. For staff who are less interested in eLearning, a strategy that involves
developing relationships within key personnel within departments is likely to be highly effective in changing perceptions and encouraging engagement. It is hoped that the findings will assist academic development units to strategically promote their eLearning professional development to a wider academic audience.