Buy-In Trumps the Pseudoscience of Objectivity

Addressing one of the biggest risks for institutional LMS evaluations

Was this forwarded to you by a friend? Sign up, and get your own copy of the news that mattered sent to your inbox every week. Sign up for the On EdTech newsletter. Interested in additional analysis? Try with our 30-day free trial and Upgrade to the On EdTech+ newsletter.

If I had to rank the biggest success factors for LMS product evaluations, the first would be understanding a company’s true product capabilities and services to address critical needs (i.e., not misinterpreting marketing claims or placing too much trust in roadmap promises), but a close second would be gaining buy-in from faculty and staff on the decision itself. I’d like to focus on that second point and how successful evaluation projects must set up reasonable selection methods that are based on effective group decision-making and not on the pseudoscience of objectivity.

While these observations apply to most EdTech system evaluations, I will describe them in terms of LMS selections based on our pending release of an LMS Evaluation Toolkit for On EdTech Enterprise subscribers. And we will continue to write about these subjects for On EdTech+ subscribers.

Buy-In and Usage Potential

In Morgan’s most recent post she observed:

Students do have preferences for which system they prefer and how things work, but as a generalization they care much more about how the systems are used by faculty than what the system allows them to do. It’s a subtle difference but an important one.

how the systems are used by faculty

As long as the primary, strategy capabilities actually exist with a chosen system (that first success factor), the issue next comes down to faculty usage. Will they (along with support staff) design courses that help students learn and succeed in their courses, or will they offer poorly structured courses in spite of the LMS’s capabilities? Both options are possible, and both exist side-by-side at most colleges and universities.

What is needed is to get faculty and staff to choose to put in the effort to understand the chosen system, reasonable course design standards or principles, and to use the system effectively. And to do that, faculty members in particular need to buy-in to the process leading to the system selection.

Methods Matter

The question is how to get that important buy-in to a system selection, particularly from faculty. And the answer lies in transparency and connection to real needs.

Subscribe to On EdTech+ to read the rest.

Become a paying subscriber of On EdTech+ to get access to this post and other subscriber-only content.

Already a paying subscriber? Sign In

A subscription gets you:
New content 3-4 times per week
Shared Q&A discussions
More coming soon