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Findings from European benchmarking exercises on e-learning:value,impact and going beyond

  • Ebba Ossiannilsson
Publiceringsår: 2011
Språk: Engelska
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Proceedings TIIM2011
Dokumenttyp: Konferensbidrag
Förlag: Oulu University


Benchmarking is becoming a more and more commonly used method for quality assurance and enhancement in higher education today. The aim of this study was to explore the impact and value of benchmarking e-learning in universities. Two European benchmarking initiatives, E-xcellence+ through the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities and the e-learning benchmarking exercise through the European Centre for Strategic Management of Universities, were studied using an exploratory multiple case study method and cross-case analysis of the findings. The open-ended research questions followed the themes of: why the University joined the benchmarking project, opinions of the process after its completion and drawbacks within the project process. The findings indicated the value and impact of a variety of aspects of benchmarking e-learning on different levels, and stressed the need for a holistic and contextual approach as both benchmarking and e-learning are complex and comprehensive phenomena. This study also shows that benchmarking, in line with national and international quality boards/agencies, is a powerful tool for making improvements to teaching and learning. Some characteristics which may not be mentioned as often in a positive light are the intentions, i.e. the meaning of the benchmarking process as such. The involvement of individuals within the organisation creates an impact on both individual and organisational levels, not least through critical reflection. The meaning of the concepts ‘rhizome’ and ‘becoming’ used in this study have leant other and new dimensions to benchmarking. Thus, this study is not only relevant to management, but to philosophy as well.


  • Educational Sciences
  • Benchmarking
  • critical success factors
  • e-learning



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