Dawson, Shane P.; Burnett, Bruce; and O'Donohue, Mark, 2006, Learning communities - an untapped sustainable competitive advantage for higher education, International Journal of Educational Management, 20(2), 127-139.
Purpose – This paper demonstrates the need for the higher education sector to develop and implement scaleable, quantitative measures that evaluate community and establish organisational benchmarks in order to guide the development of future practices designed to enhance the student learning experience.
Design/methodology/approach – Literature regarding contemporary Australian higher education policy and community development is critiqued to illustrate the need for universities to adopt scaleable quantitative measures to evaluate stated strategic imperatives and establish organisational benchmarks. The integration of organisational benchmarks guides the implementation of future practices designed to enhance the student learning experience. A current active exemplar methodology is discussed to demonstrate applicability to both higher education administrators and teaching staff across the various organisation levels.
Findings – While universities are promoting and investing in the concept of community to enhance the student learning experience there are as yet, limited scaleable evaluative measures and performance indicators to guide practitioners. This paper proposes an effective measurement tool to benchmark current pedagogical performance standards and monitor the progress and achievement of future implemented practices designed to enhance the sense of community experienced by the student cohort.
Originality/value – This paper identifies and addresses the current absence of effective scaleable evaluative measures to assess the achievement of stated strategic imperatives implemented as a consequence of reducing government financial support, increasing accountability, and increasing student expectations as result of educational consumerism.