Help shape ALT’s strategy 2020-25 – update from the Chair and Chief Executive

Authors: Sheila MacNeill (Chair) and Maren Deepwell (Chief Executive)

Dear Members

Since we updated you in October, work on the next strategy for ALT has continued apace. We are now in the final weeks of the consultation process and here are the key points for you to be aware of.

Make your voice heard

If you haven’t already done so, we invite you to complete this year’s Annual Survey We will use the results of this survey to inform the work of ALT for the coming strategy period, what we prioritise and how we put our shared values into practice. We strongly encourage you to complete the survey in your own right, even if you work for a member organisation. Representatives of member organisations are welcome to complete the survey once on an individual basis and also on behalf of their organisation. While this Annual Survey is primarily aimed at ALT Members it is open to anyone to complete. 

Review what we have achieved

We have now published ALT’s Impact Report 2017-20. Access the full report as a PDF or Google doc and visit the report homepage. Introducing the report, Sheila MacNeill, Chair of ALT, said:

“As you will see, the Association has grown in size and influence, serving our Members in all parts of the UK. Close my heart is our commitment to being an open organisation which reaches from our governance and leadership to marketing and communications. Our commitment to openness reflects the need for greater criticality and transparency when it comes to using technology for learning, teaching and assessment. Our Membership includes practitioners, researchers and policy makers from all sectors and together with my fellow Trustees I want to thank everyone involved for helping take ALT from strength to strength.”

Sketchnotes created by Bryan Mathers.

Highlights from the strategy consultation

Since the start of the consultation period in June, we have heard from Members via the Strategy Suggestion Box (which continues to be open for contributions until 12 January 2020), in early September the formal consultation with Members and the wider community was launched at the ALT Assembly meeting at the Annual Conference and the Annual General Meeting. Since then, the monthly meetings of the ALT Assembly have continued the consultation process, and staff as well as the Board of Trustees had productive strategy days in November. In December, at this year’s Online Winter Conference, Members took part in a strategy discussion around the Ethics in Learning Technology, facilitated by ALT’s chief executive Maren Deepwell and Professor John Traxler from the University of Wolverhampton. The questions we discussed included:

  • Why do professional bodies have ethical codes or frameworks? What are the benefits?
  • What are typical examples illustrating the breadth of formality, detail and principles?
  • What is so specific about learning, technology and learning technology?
  • Is it just about research ethics?

Members strongly supported establishing a broad ethical framework for Learning Technology professionals and suggested ideas of how this could be put into practice. You can view a recording of the webinar

The shape of things to come

Thanks to the many contributions we have received, it seems clear that ALT’s current aims and values continue to be in line with Members needs. In recognition of this we are looking to refine and strengthen our vision to reflect the challenges ahead and the changing context we work in. Whilst the strategic objectives will only be finalised once we have analysed the results of the survey, we want to share a taste of what is to come with this update to ALT’s definition of Learning Technology:

How we define Learning Technology

We define Learning Technology as the broad range of communication, information and related technologies that are used to support learning, teaching and assessment. We recognise the wider context of Learning Technology policy, theory and history as fundamental to its ethical, equitable and fair use.

For now, thank you to everyone who has already provided input, participated in the consultation events and sent us suggestions. 

We encourage you to take part in the final phase of the consultation until 12 January 2020 and make your voice heard! The new strategy will launch in February 2020. 

If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you to join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member.

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