Kelly, D., Weibelzahl, S., O'Loughlin, E., Pathak, P., Arnedillo Sánchez, M., & Gledhill, V. (2005). e-Learning Research & Development Roadmap for Ireland(Tech. Rep.). Dublin: National College of Ireland.

Ireland is currently enjoying the benefits of a decade of sustained economic expansion. Our past success, while providing a platform for future growth, does not guarantee that growth. Fundamental changes in the global business environment are emerging which present exciting new opportunities and some formidable competitive challenges. Education, lifelong learning, and innovation will play an increasingly important part in future success.

Innovation has been a characteristic of the Irish indigenous software industry with growth over the past decade of 27% per annum and exports reaching Euro 21bn in 2003. Ireland has been particularly successful in nurturing e-Learning software development companies. In parallel with the development of the e-Learning sector in Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland has transformed the research culture at Irish third-level institutions. Now there is an opportunity to connect an innovative sector with world leading research.

The Research Agenda Forum was established to bring Industry and Academia together to define the strategic intersection between great science and industry needs. Success in this endeavour will provide a solid intellectual platform for software companies resident in Ireland. The e-Learning Research Roadmap developed in the Forum and presented here provides a framework for world class research in e-Learning.

The Roadmap (Section 6):

  • is the product of the e-Learning Research Agenda Forum, which was led and managed by the National College of Ireland, with sponsorship from Science Foundation Ireland.
  • is the result of discussions and contributions made by over 100 participants in the Forum that included the creative minds of an international panel of leading e-Learning researchers, Irish academics and the software industry.
  • recommends the establishment of a “new research partnership that combines the resources and talents of Irish academics, industry, the international community and government” to position Ireland as the leader in e-Learning theory and practice.

The Forum produced a set of critical research priorities, together with mechanisms to ensure the engagement of both the academic community and industry in working together to achieve the vision (Section 7).

The Forum also produced a set of recommendations for the way forward (Section 8). A summary of the specific recommendations of the Forum are:

  • Ireland should target funding for the development of a world-class industry in e-Learning. Support for the proposal would be of the order of €20 million per annum for 5 years
  • The funding should be administered in such a way as to ensure collaboration between academics, industry, and government
  • The research funding provided should support the development of the skills necessary to allow for the rapid growth of e-Learning excellence
  • A research management structure should be put in place to execute this proposal
  • The nature and breadth of the program requires funding for both an institutional research centre and a "virtual" centre
  • At least one chair of e-Learning needs to be created and funded in order to provide leadership in the research strategy
  • Research should support the agreed research vehicles and integrated projects. Funding for research should demonstrate relevance to those vehicles
  • As part of its future growth strategy, the Irish government should promote e-Learning to enhance skills in the workforce
  • Emerging fields of e-Learning that need to be addressed include: Motivation, Assessment, Personalisation and Adaptivity, Architectures, Authoring Tools and the Science of Learning

The Forum believes that this set of recommendations, if supported, will enable Ireland to continue its growth and evolve into the new knowledge society. It will ensure that Ireland becomes a world leader in e-Learning research that will not only support a thriving industry but will also provide for the educational development of all.

author = {Declan Kelly and Stephan Weibelzahl and Eugene O'Loughlin and Pramod Pathak and Inmaculada {Arnedillo S{\'a}nchez} and Vance Gledhill},
title = {e-{L}earning {R}esearch \& {D}evelopment {R}oadmap for {I}reland},
institution = {{N}ational {C}ollege of {I}reland},
address = {Dublin},
year = {2005}