What the ALT survey tells us about the online pivot

The Association of Learning Technology conducts an annual survey. This is always a useful tool to track learning technologists (and their institutions) attitudes towards different technology. This year though they had a special section on Covid, and the results of that are worth noting. They provide an interesting historical snapshot, at the end of 2020. It will be informative to see how we feel about them this time next year.

Here are the key findings:

  • 87% of Members feel Learning Technology is more positively perceived.
  • Infrastructure and technology has won most investment over recruitment and CPD (with 53% reporting a reduction in permanent posts funding)
  • Learning tech budgets often increased (45%) but 41% reported no change.
  • 58% of respondents felt the changes were sustainable
  • Wellbeing has been impacted as Members have supported over 90% of provision online, although 70% responded positively to the statement “I have felt cheerful and in good spirits”
  • 67% of policies relating to use of Learning Technology have been revised, or new ones created.

There are a few interpretations and take-aways from these findings. Firstly, I think many learning technologists have felt some sense of vindication over the past year. A sort of “see, I’ve been telling you this stuff was important for years!”. Hence the finding that they feel learning technology is more positively perceived and many felt in good spirits (I’m assuming this didn’t mean gin). It might be understandable but the investment in infrastructure perhaps points to a ‘get me a technology to fix the problem’ mentality, rather than the longer term fix of increased CPD. A reduction in staff in these posts seems very counter productive. The finding that many felt this approach was sustainable I found interesting, and perhaps contrary to the view I’d formed viewing online discussion.

I think revisiting these next year will provide a good comparison. The data is openly available also, so you could use it as a comparison point for such a survey in your own institution also.

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