e-LEARNING INNOVATION @ Taylor’s University Malaysia

In 2012, Taylor’s e-Learning Academy (eLA) was established within INTELLECT, the Integrated Teaching and Life-Long Learning Centre at Taylor’s, with the specific mandate of driving and supporting the implementation of blended learning at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus. The name ‘academy’ reflects its core purpose as a unit which primarily promotes ‘learning how to teach with technology’. Hence, eLA’s task has been to help the academics effectively and meaningfully implement the use of technology in transforming the learning journey of the students with the Mission that “by 2016, every student at Taylor’s University will learn in a collaborative, self-directed and personalized manner anytime and anywhere”

After half a decade, Taylor’s is proud that our students are enthusiastically experiencing and embracing blended learning – i.e. leveraging on technology combined with the best features of face to face interaction to enhance our learning and teaching activities with myriad avenues to access a significant portion of learning content via e-Learning. Thus our students autonomously shift between platforms according to their preferred learning styles, ensuring that both synchronous (time-dependent) and asynchronous (time-independent) modes of e-Learning are adopted depending on specific learning outcomes.

Our Strategic Thrust on Transformational Teaching & Learning with the notion of ‘transformation’ has been in itself daunting. It has required us as academics to think and operate differently; to function beyond our comfort zones and levels to become agents of change.

To spearhead and support this new learning paradigm, Taylor’s e-Learning Academy (eLA) with its 4 new units implemented innovations in the following key areas to support our students and staff:

Content Development – to lead the development of impactful and innovative e-learning objects to be delivered through the Learning Management System (LMS) and MOOCs.
Learning Innovation – to identify 21st century learners’ needs for innovative learning and teaching technology in the respective curricula with sound pedagogy.
Learning Technology – to manage projects concerning integrated learning technologies and system structures based on best practices and support academics and students in using these technologies.
Training and Development – to promote awareness and develop knowledge and skills to enhance learning using technology. To reach out to the academics and encourage them to embark on e-learning initiatives.
The Uniqueness of Our Journey

For the past four years, Taylor’s University has embarked on an ambitious journey to re-define student learning for better academic outcomes.

During the Foundational Phase (2011), e-Learning became one of the university’s strategic priorities with appropriate structures and personnel in place. Then, the Emergent Phase (2011 – 2012) focused on ensuring that e-Learning infrastructure meet the needs of the initiative, and involved upgrading and / or building where necessary. During the Innovative Phase (2013-2014), the e-Learning needs of the University were expected to change and grew rapidly in tandem with development efforts and newer toots, technologies and approaches were discovered. Finally, in this Transformative Phase (2015 and beyond) we have and will continue to see the implementation of increasingly advanced and complex e-Learning applications and their corresponding infrastructure upgrades as required.

Adopting strategic and systematic university-wide implementation of technology to enhance face-to-face interaction, it has enabled Taylor’s University to be at the forefront of blended learning. Various innovations have been implemented to help our students to learn anytime and anywhere. Some of these project are :
(i) Project X-Space to develop greater communication and critical thinking skills in the specially designed collaborative classrooms

(ii) Project ReWIND to promote self-pace, anytime and anywhere learning with Lecture Capture System

(iii) Project TIMeS & Transformer to promote greater interactivity in our Learning Management System (LMS) for students to personalize their learning

(iv) Project e-Quarium to enable social and interdisciplinary learning in a technology-enabled environment

(v) Project MOOC for reaching out the world through free and engaging online courses.

Our Success Recognized
The fruits of our labor of love have paid off as Taylor’s University has received numerous awards and accolades just in the past 2 years as a fitting culmination to our eLearning endeavors. The awards and recognition received locally and internationally include the following:

1. Award for Best Higher Education Institution
BETT Asia Award (November 2015).

2. NUCeL 2015 (December 2015)
Won 5 awards out of the 12 categories. Poster presentation:
-1 gold
-8 silver
-3 bronze

3. Award for Excellence in eLearning at the Global Learntech, Mumbai (November 2014)
Received “Award for Excellence in eLearning” at the Global Learntech 2014 on 14 November 2014, Mumbai, India for “The Learning Revolution at Taylor’s University: Collaborative, Self- Directed and Personalized Learning”.

4. Shorlisted for the Wharton-QS Stars Awards 2014, Reimagine Education, Philadelphia, U.S.A. (December 2014)

5. Recipient of the Taylor’s Education Group CEO’s Award, Brand Ambassador 2014
The Brand Ambassador Award recognizes our efforts in branding the Taylor’s name, to transform teaching and learning at Taylor’s University and also promoting it to the other stakeholders, in Malaysia and around the world.