Assessing the value of investment in teaching and learning technology by a Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences: a cost-benefit analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Mark Harrison
  • Joshua Quisias
  • Emma Frew
  • Simon P. Albon

Colleges, School and Institutes


Objective: In an age of accountability, there are increasing expectations to demonstrate efficient use of available resources. The purpose of this study was to conduct a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of investment into teaching and learning technology (TLT) by a Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences in a large research-intensive university.
Methods: Document analysis was used to establish the University, Faculty, and national goals and objectives for TLT use. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with members of the Faculty to understand the perspectives of faculty members on the value of TLT, their metrics to assess value, and an estimate of social value using a willingness to pay exercise. A CBA was used to compare the social value against the cost of the investment in TLT.
Results: National, University and Faculty goals for TLT are diffuse and non-specific in terms of the intended use or the metrics by which implementation and impacts on the quality of teaching could be assessed. Twenty-one faculty members participated in semi-structured interviews. The mean WTP for TLT was $4.38m and the cost of investment was $4.25m. The primary analysis showed a small positive net benefit of the investment ($134,456) although this difference was not significantly different.
Conclusions: The Faculty’s monetary investment in TLT was approximately equal to the social value placed on TLT by faculty users. The CBA approach can bring greater understanding to curriculum and pedagogical practices and financial decision-making. Greater clarity about the goals and objectives of TLT could help to maximize the value of investment in TLT.


Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Pharmaceutical Education
Early online date14 Mar 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Mar 2018


  • educational technology, cost-benefit analysis, curriculum decision-making