In 2012-13 the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, together with the four Changing the Learning Landscape partners, created a highly innovative programme which was designed to meet institutional needs and aspirations.
The programme was designed for senior managers with overall institutional responsibility for learning and teaching. Typically the Pro Vice-Chancellor or equivalent, expected to create strategy which impacted on their students’ experience.
The Strategic Change Programme aimed to equip participants to lead major change programmes that apply new methods of developing learning using innovative technologies.
The Strategic Change Programme hoped to enable participants to:
The focus of the programme was on learning that can be gained from leading edge practitioners around the world. Participants were able to compare their institution’s aspirations and their strategy for future transformation.
Below is a list of the thematic content for the programme:
1. Reviewing and Creating Strategies
For the enhanced use of technology in learning and teaching Module 1 was designed to stimulate and challenge participants in undertaking the task of leading a step change in the use of technology-enhanced learning by their institution. To achieve this we offered a credible and inspiring vision of how the future looks through the use of the technology. This was done through:
Following Module 1, participants returned to their institutions and reviewed their Learning and Teaching strategies and their enablers, and where necessary exerted influence so that strategies were reviewed and changed.
2. Involvement of Students
Students are at the heart of the CLL project and the participants needed to be aware of how the student body can be engaged in contributing to the developments that will enable their institution to make a ‘step change’. It was expected that students would have an input into what a ‘step change’ means from their perspective.
3. Providing Leadership for Staff Leaders and Practitioners
For the change to be embedded in the organisation, the staff that took a lead in creating/updating the strategy for the utilisation of learning technology and implementing it, themselves needed leadership in their work in encouraging their colleagues to take initiatives that can mean initially more work and risk taking. How that leadership would be provided by the senior leaders and managers was critical to the success of the project and the participants were guided in identifying their own role as leaders and projecting it within the context of the programme.
4. Leading and Managing Organisational Change
A ‘step change’ implies a major difference in the way an organisation will utilise the learning technologies. The participants needed to have a clear view of what that meant in their organisation by being able to compare their current practice and future strategy with leading edge practitioners and the likely developments worldwide in, say, the next five years. They needed to be able to identify the opportunities and threats in planning to implement major changes, and use management techniques to put in place and operate project management processes. Participants created a plan to achieve organisational change.
5. Learning Technologies
An understanding of technology-enhanced learning is essential to provide the appropriate leadership in the context of this area of work. Jisc lists at least nine learning technologies in its publication ‘Effective Practice in a Digital Age’. We worked with the participants to select the level of awareness that they needed to be effective in their leadership role.
Design of the Modules
The themes for all three modules were the five noted above. The focus was on: