In her paper International Perspectives on E-Learning Research, Conole states institutions face the impact of e-learning but strategies and policies are not easily determined as both technology and organizations are complex. As such, e-learning is changing structure and professional roles. Other concerns are the tensions created between commercial imperative and government directives with e-learning. Also, often e-learning initiatives are funded over a short-term and small scale impacting long term sustainability. It is wondered who will invest the time and money and feel the risks from developments – yet the academic again? They become burdened with teaching and research. Research on e-learning can help with these questions but instituitions need to distill out the findings. What is more, small scale research and case studies make it hard to generalize the findings. A meta-synthesis of findings would offer key themes to inform practice.
Conole ends with,
Educational institutions operate in a complex environment, influenced by a range of often-conflicting policy directives and external drivers. The situation is further complicated in that the pace of change of technology and its potential impact is phenomenal. E-learning offers the potential to create new and innovative educational provision and improve the student learning experience. However how the can be achieved is not straightforward or obvious. Given this more research is needed to both understand the context of modern education and analysis of associated policy, as well as research into understanding the ways in which technologies can be used to support education. The findings can then be used to both inform and shape future policy in this area and help improve practice (p.10).