Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Partnership among Schools in E-Learning Implementation: Implications on Elements for Sustainable Development

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Partnership among Schools in E-Learning Implementation: Implications on Elements for Sustainable Development

Article excerpt

Introduction

E-Learning refers not merely to the use of technology for learning and teaching (Stein, Shephard, & Harris, 2011), it concerns also the pedagogical issues, which focus on the ways of using digital resources, using digital communication tools and collecting learning data to effectively support learning, promote interaction and facilitate pedagogical decision making (Gebre, Saroyan, & Bracewell, 2014; Osborne, Dunne, & Farrand, 2013). E-Learning is multifaceted and requires talents of many parties in the formulation of a diversity of learning and teaching strategies, therefore collaboration is a key to carry out quality e- Learning implementation (Vandenhouten, Lepak, Reilly, & Berg, 2014).

Across-parties collaboration for e-Learning development is important, because different partners provide specialized supports and professional services for schools implementing e- Learning. Major stakeholders who play essential roles in e-Learning implementation include partnership schools, tertiary education sectors, business sectors and parents. This article focuses on the roles of partnership schools, which are crucial to schools that worked on a cluster basis and organized tenacious communities together in disseminating e-Learning practices and experience. Schools need to build a good partnership with different collaborating schools for the successful promotion of e-Learning. The collaborative initiatives and cooperation relationships can be delineated by studying the structures and related elements involved in partnership among cluster schools.

The distribution of leadership, division of labor and closeness of relationship are taken into consideration to investigate the structures of school partnership (Muijs, 2015; OECD, 2001). With partnership schools as an e-Learning stakeholder, teachers can benefit in various ways such as enhancing quality of lesson preparation and delivery, supporting fellows in resources sharing and management as well as reaching a larger pool of students (Wagner, Hassanein, & Head, 2008). The collaborative efforts generated from school clusters enable the schools to ease budget restriction for Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and human resources for e-Learning development, also to minimize the resistance from conservative teachers in adopting e-Learning strategies (Muijs, 2015; Wagner et al., 2008).

Research framework

Literature stresses the importance to identify the needs of school-based e- Learning in the first place; prior to schools' decisions on when, why and with whom to partner; and hence set clear and common goals, objectives and expectations between the schools and their partners (Duffy & Gallagher, 2015; OECD, 2001). Schools can be strategic in terms of forming school partnerships, by understanding the cultural and organizational differences as well as similarities of the motives and management styles among different e- Learning partners. It is suggested that there is a variety of stakeholder groups who work jointly with schools, each plays specific roles and exerts influences on the operation and effectiveness of e-Learning implementation (Duffy & Gallagher, 2015; Wagner et al., 2008). In order to build a good e-Learning partnership, it would be more manageable for schools to begin with homogeneous affiliated members, namely the partnership schools. This study focuses on partnership schools as one of the stakeholders, who account for a major part in developing e-Learning initiatives especially in cluster projects.

Mehra, Smith, Dixon, and Robertson (2006) identified four team leadership structures in business domains: (1) traditional leader-centered team leadership structure, of which leadership is centered on a single individual within the team; (2) distributed team leadership structure, of which leadership is dispersed widely across team members; (3) distributed-coordinated team leadership structure, which is one of the derived forms of distributed team leadership that there is a reciprocal tie between the individuals who had emerged as leaders for coordinating team network; and (4) distributed-fragmented team leadership structure, which is another derived form of distributed team leadership that leadership is distributed over multiple team members without an obvious coordination within the team. …

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