Why projects fail

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Fleur Hills 6 years, 4 months ago.

  • Author
  • #23632

    Julie Voce

    Examine why projects fail and what we can do to mitigate against failure. Please read Tom Cochrane’s 2012 conference paper on failures in mobile learning projects. It identifies six critical success factors for the mobile web 2.0 implementation and reviews the effectiveness of three mobile learning projects. The paper also identifies the key successes and failures for each of the projects.

    Based upon your evaluation of the project identified in the first activity, what were the “key successes” and “key failures”? Share your thoughts

  • #25173

    Fleur Hills

    The project I was involved in and have described in the If you only do one thing activity this week was not an elearning project and therefore the six critical success factors identified by Cochrane (2012) are not directly applicable. However, these six factors are underpinned by fundamental themes which are crucial to the success of using technology to enhance learning and teaching and for achieving Cochrane’s ‘significant difference’. To me, these themes are:

    people – consultation, discussion, winning confidence, supporting, managing expectation

    appropriate choice of technology – the identification of the best technology to achieve desired outcome

    a researched and explicit pedagogy-first approach – technology used to achieve an identified pedagogical outcome, one that adds to the learning and teaching experience

    sustained support – ongoing support of both people and the actual technology

    In the mlearning projects described by Cochrane, one or other of these themes was missing or badly-aligned, leading to failure. The success of the project in which I was involved was compromised by not getting some of the technology to work at the right time and a failure to capitalise on opportunities to gain staff buy-in.

    Key successes were:

    • iPads rolled out to staff on time
    • Core set of recommended apps available to staff at no cost via MDM
    • Support documentation, resources and information available on VLE
    • Some screencasts created to support staff use of iPad
    • Workshops and demos held to introduce some useful cross-curricular apps

    Key failures were:

    • Ability to mirror iPads to classroom PCs not achieved by the rollout date despite this having been identified as a major target at the beginning.
    • The first important introduction to all staff was not successful. The presentation was an overview of  iPads in Education and staff wanted a more direct, hands-on session. This was a significant failure as a key opportunity to gain staff buy-in was lost.
    • Two important pieces of software (MDM and webdav solution) did not work well and were too complicated for staff to use with ease.

    Cochrane, T. (2012) ‘Secrets of mlearning failures: confronting reality’, Supplement: ALT-C 2012 Conference Proceedings, pp. 123-134

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