Case Study: University of Cambridge

Digital learning strategy for staff development and beyond

LAS has been working with University of Cambridge, one of the world’s top universities for six years. Starting with developing their elearning strategy for staff development, we have gone on to produce numerous digital learning interventions for them, including a bespoke goal-based learning system.

The Issue

When writing the HR strategy for the University, Cambridge recognised the advantages of incorporating learning technologies, particularly in terms of cost-saving, but as most of their training programme was delivered face-to-face, they realised that they would need to bring in a specialist to help them to maximise the benefits of digital learning.

University of Cambridge Logo

The Challenge

We were selected from five leading UK elearning consultancies to work with them on these challenges.

The challenge at Cambridge was, in fact, twofold:

  • To develop an elearning strategy for the University's 8,000 staff which would be fully integrated into the overall HR strategy and also to provide ongoing consultancy and support to help them to implement the strategy.
  • To develop the elearning aspect of a blended induction programme.

We were selected from five leading UK elearning consultancies to work with them on these challenges.

University of Cambridge

The Solution

Our approach when developing strategy is to first get to know the organisation, to find out how they think and feel and to discover what really makes them tick. A university has a huge range of staff, from Nobel Prize Winners to gardeners, who vary wildly in their roles, technical capabilities and ability to access PCs, all of which need to be taken into account.

When developing content we start with the simplest solutions and work up in complexity until we find the ideal method to deliver learning content. We don't believe in making something more complicated or expensive than it needs to be.

We looked at all aspects of the learning experience and the University's technological capabilities before making our recommendations. Through employing the right technologies, we were able to realise a considerable cost-saving for the University.

So what's the 'right technology'? Well, for example, we worked on identifying the best learning management approach and, rather than recommend that Cambridge purchase a new expensive package, we adapted an existing University course management system, based on the open source content management system, SAKAI, and added SCORM tracking to it.

The Results

After helping Cambridge to develop their digital learning strategy, we became their elearning partner for staff development. As well as developing systems and content for them, we also worked with them to build and train an internal development team, giving the University the instructional design and technical skills to be able to build and author their own effective learning content.

In addition to the induction elearning that we developed for them we have also produced health and safety, admissions interviewing, email management, project management, time management and communication skills courses, all specifically designed for the higher education environment.

About University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is one of the world's oldest universities and leading academic centres, and a self-governed community of scholars. Cambridge comprises 31 Colleges and over 150 departments, faculties, schools and other institutions and has over 8,000 staff. Academically, Cambridge is consistently ranked in the world's top five universities and as the leading university in Europe by numerous media and academic rankings. The University has more Nobel Prize winners than any other institution.

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