The e-Learning Strategy of Organizational Design Emerging the New University Education for the Next Generation

Kazuo SAKAI, Ken KURIYAMA and Toshiyuki MIYAHARA


The Japanese universities developed by riding the demographic big wave which grew drastically from thirty million to one hundred and twenty million in the last century. The universities will experience a sharp downturn in population to one-half of the present population 2006 to 90 years after. This is caused by the declining birthrates which have led to a major drop in student numbers at Japanese universities. This leads to the following two diversities: (1) ages of student enrollment, such as high school graduates, adult and elderly students, (2) selection methods of entrance examination. The diversification of the selection methods brings the diversification of basic scholastic ability and lowering academic performance. These diversities of students involve the drastic environmental change to the Japanese universities.

In order to adapt this change, the universities have to diversify the educational activities according to the student diversification. This is done only by introducing some kind of complexity into the university organization. The e-learning is the best choice to introduce the complexity, because the e-learning is necessarily accompanied by many kinds of specialists which bring the complexity into the university organization. The specialists share the education activities which are thus far monopolized by single professor.

By introducing e-learning, the main concern is to implement educational reform of traditional large-scale universities with huge undergraduates. In order to diffuse the educational reform through the whole university, the education system of e-learning should be developed in a scalable manner. The scalability is guaranteed by the following points. The first is by reexamining the roles of five e-learning specialists such as instructional designer, contents specialist, instructor, mentor, and learning-system producer to ensure their own roles in a scalable point of view. It becomes apparent that the additional specialists are necessary to ensure the scalability under the condition sustaining their roles in which the five e-learning specialists hold their own roles. Besides the five e-learning specialists, it is shown that the following additional six specialists are required; tutor, learning concierge, service desk, help desk, liaison, intellectual property team, and mentoring team of counselor, psychiatrist, and lawyer. The second is by introducing appropriate resonance fields with e-learning specialists and relevant stakeholders in university such as students, professors and university officials. The existence of the resonance field is responsible for cooperative team activities, where members are resonant with each others in a spontaneous manner. The third is by connecting resonance fields and making communication loops so as to cover the whole education system. This whole communication loop is often called micro-macro loop.

These three conditions are corresponding to those of the health of organizations. Under these conditions, the spontaneous evolution of the organization should be expected. Especially, the micro-macro loop is a crucial condition, because this closed loop becomes self-mentioned system which gives rise to chaos. When chaos occurs (or chaotic attractor is formed), all possible orders are included in the chaotic attractor. Thus the self-mentioned system would bring the new order into the organization. This is the emergence effect by the micro-macro loop.

The e-learning specialists are divided into two functional parts. One of them is corresponding to the instructional activities for which the instructional designer is responsible, and the other is to the learning activities for which mentor is responsible. In the stand point of the instructional design, the mentor remains under the control of the instructional designer. But the learning activities should not hold a subordinate position to the instruction activities. These two activities are complimentary or rather compete against with each other. It is thus requires, instead of the mentor, a new independent specialist named `learning designer’ to the instructional designer. This means that the original role of mentor is divided into two parts of the learning designer and the original mentor. By introducing the learning designer, two kinds of the activities of instruction and learning become competitive with each other. This gives a driving force to evolve the organization if properly managed. In order to manage the competitive driving force, the supervisor should be introduced so as to manage these competitive activities. The superviros is responsible for the sound human communication in the resonance fields. This is named as `human-communication design’.

Thus, the e-learning strategy of organizational design is proposed in order to emerge the new university education for the next generation and is summarized as followings. This organizational design is named as the `educational design’ (ED) and is composed of the following three parts: (1) `instructional design’ (ID) for teaching and instructing by professors or instructors, (2) `learning design’ (LD) for learning by students, (3) `human-communicational design’ (CD) for emerging spontaneous evolution of total education system.