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Strategic Alliances in Education: The Knowledge Engineering Web

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IETI Volume 41, Number 3, ISSN 1470-3297


The field of higher education shows a jumble of alliances between fellow institutes. The alliances are strategic in kind and serve an economy-of-scales concept. A large scale is a prerequisite for allocating the budgets for new educational methods and technologies in order to keep the educational services up-to-date. All too often, however, strategic alliances remain no more than dead letters, feted by boards of management, but lacking innovative power. The current paper reviews the K-Web case, one of few successful strategic alliances in education in the Netherlands. The K-Web alliance started in 1997 and aimed at a joint development of digitized learning materials in the domain of knowledge engineering. At its start five universities in the Netherlands were involved; in 2002 more universities joined the alliance. Based on the K-Web case, this paper identifies and explains the critical factors for successful co-operation and proposes a number of guidelines for making strategic alliances work. The guidelines involve issues on governance, project management, the partners' autonomies, conflicting pedagogies and conflicting technologies. The K-Web strategy seems to indicate a passable route, which may be helpful for other alliances.


Westera, W., van den Herik, J. & van de Vrie, E. (2004). Strategic Alliances in Education: The Knowledge Engineering Web. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 41(3), 317-328. Retrieved October 17, 2019 from .

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