Bridging the gap between policy and practice: a reflective review and looking forward to the future

Invited talk, Conole, Annual Meeting of the Italian E-learning Society, Salerno, 17th September 2009

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Gráinne Conole
15 September 2009


Bridging the gap between policy and practice: a reflective review and looking forward to the future Session: e-learning as policy for education.

Without a doubt e-learning is now truly embedded in all educational institutions; from the provision of an appropriate technological infrastructure to support teaching, research and administrative activities in the institutions through to the innovative use of technologies for learning. National and international policies in the area reflect this and are filled with rhetoric about the potential technologies offer for education – personalisation, flexibility, adaptively, lifelong learning and engaging authentic and immersive environment. However, closer inspection suggests that there is still a gap between the promises inherent in the policy rhetoric and actual use in practice. The talk will focus on a e-learning timeline, mapping the shifting directions of policy perspectives and their subsequent impact on practice. It will reflect on implications for the future.


Some of the key questions for me are:

  • What are the current e-learning policy drives/agenda?
  • To what extent is policy impact on practice?
  • How much are newer social and technological trends being reflected in e-learning policy?
  • How wide is the gap between policy and actual practice?
  • What interventions might be put in place to narrow the gap between policy and practice?



Full policy/practice diagram:


Extra content

Emergent patterns of use of the Cloudworks site:

This work is part of the OU Learning Design Initiative and Olnet. People involved include:

  • Giota Aleveizou, Andrew Brasher, Paul Clark, Simon Cross, Juliette Culver, Andrea De Santos, Rebecca Gallley, Patrick McAndrew, Elpida Makriyannis, Paul Mundin, Martin Weller, Tina Wilson.
  • Juliette Culver is the site developer and Rebecca Galley is helping in terms of site use and moderator

We would like to thank the OU for strategic funding to support this work, also the JISC as part of their Curriculum Design Programme and the Willaim and Flora Hewlett Foundation for funding Olnet.

Gráinne Conole
11:12 on 17 September 2009

Embedded Content


Gráinne Conole
8:52am 18 September 2009

I am planning to do a series of blog posts expanding on the points made in the presentation. I will add them as links above. The first has been added and looks at the e-learning policy/practice timeline.

Gráinne Conole
10:40am 18 September 2009

Second blog post now added on future trends and implications.

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