The ecelearn story
Developed in an education environment for teachers and learners, and designed for ease of use, the ecelearn online learning solution is built on a solid foundation of real-world experience.
Including ‘high touch, low tech’ learners
ecelearn was originally developed as a custom in-house online learning solution for New Zealand Tertiary College (NZTC), a private training institution that provides postgraduate and undergraduate qualifications in early childhood education.
In 2005, NZTC chief executive Selena Fox and longtime collaborator Dr Chip Donohue – an international expert in the field of distance learning and online education – began researching online learning options for students. Instead of using an off-the-shelf online learning product, they opted to develop a more user-friendly solution that could meet the needs of their predominantly ‘high touch, low tech’ learners, many of whom had limited experience using computers and the internet.
With initial support from the New Zealand government’s Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST), NZTC brought together an in-house IT team and began development. The resulting system was called ‘ecelearn’ – a name which reflects its roots in the early childhood education (ECE) sector.
To ensure ecelearn was developed in accordance with national and international e-learning best practice, NZTC applied the New Zealand e-Learning guidelines. Case studies about implementation of the guidelines and collaboration with Dr. Donohue are available on the NZ e-Learning guidelines website:
In 2007 and 2008, NZTC carried out two 6-month ‘Web Enhanced Distance Learning (WEDL)’ pilot studies to test the ecelearn online environment with current lecturers and students. Research outputs and recommendations from these studies further informed the ongoing development of ecelearn.
A winning start, as NZTC Online
In May 2009, NZTC formally launched ecelearn in New Zealand with the name ‘NZTC Online’. NZTC Online was an instant success at NZTC, with well over half of its 1500 students choosing online course delivery within just over a year of the launch.
NZTC Online has also enabled NZTC to expand its course delivery to overseas students located in India, Singapore and the Philippines.
Taking ecelearn to the world
Following the success of the pilot studies and launch of NZTC Online, NZTC identified the potential for ecelearn to be applied in other business environments. ecelearn is now a division within NZTC with a dedicated development and commercialisation team.
Commercial development of ecelearn has been guided by the ‘Learning Management Systems 2009: Facts, Practical Analysis, Trends and Provider Profiles’ report by Bersin & Associates. This report provided comprehensive information about the current market requirements of learning management systems (such as customisation and scalable hosting), and has enabled further development of ecelearn to meet these requirements.
To learn more
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