E-Learning Maturity Model
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the eMM?

The eMM, or e-learning Maturity Model in full, is a benchmarking methodology designed to help organisations assess the sustainability and effectiveness of their e-learning activities. The eMM also attempts to identify and provide evidence of support for the key organisational processes and practices that determine sustainability and effectiveness of e-learning.

Who can use the eMM?

The eMM and all associated tools is licensed by the Creative Commons and is freely available for anyone to use.

What is a "Maturity Model"

Maturity models are models of organisational improvement that are built on the observation that organisations involved in complex endeavors move through levels of effectiveness. As organisations become more exerienced in those endeavors and develop effective systems supporting the activities, they become more "mature" in their approach. The maturity model approach was first applied with the very successful software engineering Capability Maturity Model which defined five maturity levels:

  1. Initial
  2. Repeatable
  3. Defined
  4. Managed
  5. Optimizing

The eMM, while based on the CMM maturity paradigm, has been developed in a different direction and treats these as dimensions of capability which can be developed simultaneously, rather than sequentially.

What is meant by the term "Capability"

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

What is meant by the term "Process"

Processes define a key aspect of the overall ability of institutions to perform well in the delivery of e-learning. Each process is selected on the basis of its necessity in the development and maintenance of capability in e-learning. All of the processes have been created after a rigorous and extensive programme of research, testing and feedback conducted internationally.

What is meant by the term "Practice"

Practices are intended to capture the key essences of individual processes as specific items that can be assessed easily in a given institutional context. They specify the general concept defined by the process in detail so as to assist in the assessment of capability in that process. The practices are intended to be sufficiently generic that they can reflect the use of different pedagogies, technologies and organisational cultures.

Each process is defined in this way by practices that address each of the five dimensions of the eMM.

What is meant by the term "Dimension"

The eMM supplements the CMM concept of maturity levels, which describe the evolution of the organisation as a whole, with dimensions. The five dimensions of the eMM are:

  1. Delivery
  2. Planning
  3. Definition
  4. Management
  5. Optimisation

The key idea underlying the dimension concept is holistic capability. Rather than the eMM measuring progressive levels, it describes the capability of a process from these five synergistic perspectives. An organization that has developed capability on all dimensions for all processes will be more capable than one that has not. Capability at the higher dimensions that is not supported by capability at the lower dimensions will not deliver the desired outcomes; capability at the lower dimensions that is not supported by capability in the higher dimensions will be ad-hoc, unsustainable and unresponsive to changing organizational and learner needs.

A detailed description of the five dimensions of the eMM is available in the Key Concepts section.