e-Learning Leadership: 10 Strategies

The 17th annual Educational Technology Leadership Conference will take place this week in Roanoke, Virginia.  The conference is sponsored by Virginia Tech’s Center for Instructional Technology Solutions in Industry and Education.  Given the theme of e-learning leadership, I’ll be leading a conversation about these ten practices:
1.Conversation: lead lots of conversations about the shift to personal digital learning

  • Ask your school community what they’re excited about and what they’re concerned about
  • Take field trips
  • Discuss the Innosight Institute report on Blended Learning

2.Plan the shift

  • Pick a date for a shift to predominantly digital instructional materials—the 2014-15 school year is a good choice
  • Use adaptive tools to target instructional (e.g, Dreambox, i-Ready)
  • Think in phases and leverage teacher leadership
  • Consider platform options

3.Encourage BYOD

  • Encourage student to bring the devices they have
  • Update your Acceptable Use Policy

4.Build Equitable Access

5.Phase in Blended Learning

6.Expand Online Options

  • Pick a capable partner with quality standards-aligned content and the ability to provide teachers in hard to staff subjects
  • As the 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning suggests, power personalization with weighted, portable funding.

7.Open Flex Options

8.Advance Competency-Based Learning

  • Build a big gradebook of standards-based evidence of student learning with a mix of computer scored items and teacher observations
  • Ask students to show what they know on a periodic basis
  • Join the CompetencyWorks community, an iNACOL project

9.Support Teacher Learning

  • Help every teacher build a personalized learning plan using Bloomboard
  • Provide access to a library of online learning options


Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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1 Comment

Tom Vander Ark

eLearning leaders at ETLC added:
-to #1 add community learning opportunities
-to #4 add network security and broadband access
-#5-8 should be a collaboration with curriculum & assessment leaders
-to #6, add higher ed online learning partnership

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