E-Learning Maturity Model
Version Two Key Concepts

The assessment of capability in a complex area such as e-learning is difficult and necessarily involves reducing large amounts of detail into a broader overview that supports management decision making and strategic planning. It is inevitable that this approach will fail to single out the subtle nuances and innovative work of individuals that motivate teaching staff to work on individual projects. Institutions and individuals will always have the ability to choose to invest time and other resources in innovative, unique opportunities. The focus of the eMM is aimed at a less lofty goal, that of changing organisational conditions so that e-learning is delivered in a sustainable and high quality fashion to as many students as possible. As noted by Fullan:

"The answer to large-scale reform is not to try to emulate the characteristics of the minority who are getting somewhere under present conditions - Rather, we must change existing conditions so that it is normal and possible for a majority of people to move forward"

The framework used in this analysis is based on the Capability Maturity Model (CMM, Paulk et al., 1993) and SPICE (Software Process Improvement and Capability dEtermination, El Emam et al., 1998; SPICE, 2002). The underlying idea is that the ability of an institution to be effective in a particular area of work is dependent on their capability to engage in high quality processes that are reproducible and able to be sustained and built upon. The characteristics of an institution that enable high quality processes are to some extent able to be separated from the details of the actual work undertaken that will vary depending on particular circumstances. This separation means that the analysis can be done independently of the technologies selected and pedagogies applied, thus allowing for a meaningful comparison across the sector.

Capability, in the context of this model, refers to the ability of an institution to ensure that e-learning design, development and deployment is meeting the needs of the students, staff and institution. Capability includes the ability of an institution to sustain e-learning support of teaching as demand grows and staff change.

The following web pages elaborate in more detail the key elements of the eMM and its application: