Funding for new technology can be a tricky to navigate. My organization currently uses combination of funding options to support technology and content development. One method we currently use is a decentralized approach. Our initial adoption costs of our Learning Management System were planned for within our budget capital budget (Bates 161). Our senior leadership team was forward thinking enough to understand that not only our salable products would utilize the LMS and therefore the funding was absorbed by the capital. Additional funds are budgeted by other departments to support the development and delivery of content through the system to meet their needs. I have great input as eLearning Manager as to how much money should be budgeted annually to account for increased usage per user (per seat license), known and unknown customizations, and upgrades, for example. The diversity in utilization of our LMS says volumes about how our senior leadership team allows eLearning staff with the autonomy to make decisions and lets their “experts” lead.
Another funding approach we have used is a strategic partnership with a pharmaceutical company. We partnered with this particular company in order to co-implement a 3 module eLearning course that educates nurses on stroke management. The company was developing the content with an outside eLearning developing vendor and our internal clinical nurses were reviewers on content. They funded the project with quite a large budget in order to co-brand the program with our organizations names, utilize our LMS, and to reach our 40,000 members. The partnership is excellent way for our organization to share costs (Bates 163). We have had final rights on approving content and active participation in all marketing of the course to ensure it complies with our mission and strategic plan. In some ways I could see that true academics may not view these types of partnerships as appropriate as it could be said they are “buying” access to our members. I disagree in many ways as it serves the purpose of providing education that our members would be getting elsewhere if it were not from us.
Bates, A.W. (2000.) Managing Technological Change