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About the project

Higher education’s (HE) key mission is to develop human potential with beneficial effects for social and economic development. HE as a system, along with HE institutions, must be innovative and strategically managed to be able to fulfil their mission. Therefore, the decision making accompanied by evaluation of its implementation in higher education is an issue of highest priority. Primary goal of this research proposal is to develop a complete methodology for strategic decision making and the monitoring of its implementation in HE.

Furthermore, the enrolment rate within online education has skyrocketed worldwide and there are a number of reports on e-readiness and ICT use in HE. Croatian data is absent from these reports. Since the implementation of e-learning has rarely been systematic in Croatia, the positive effect on quality of education remains absent. In the cases where the strategy of e-learning exists, its implementation is not analysed. At the same time there is already a trove of data available in IT systems supporting HE in Croatia with a great potential for deeper analysis. There are no data about open and distance learning introduction in Croatia.

The project started with its activities on June 1st 2015 and it is planned to end on May 31st 2019.

Two basic components of this project are defined; First component is theoretic in nature and second one is applied research with a case study generating specific outcomes such as a national e-readiness report and recommendation for implementation of e-learning (open and distance learning) at institutional and national levels as well as the curriculum model for programs of open and distance learning.

1Development of methodological framework for strategic decision making and monitoring of its implementation

2Application, adjustment and evaluation of our methodology on the example of decision implementation on e-learning and distance learning



Project structure

The research on decision making is structured as a cycle of strategic decision making with four phases:

  1. Intelligence - problem identification and research, advancement of methodologies such as readiness assessment, diffusion of innovation etc.
  2. Design of methodology - primary research goal is the design of decision making methodology and decision making, improvement of multicriteria decision analysis enabling better strategic decision making in HE.
  3. Implementation and monitoring - research and identification of key factors that determine effectiveness of strategic decision, their correlation, design of measuring model for maturity and effectiveness of strategic decision implementation in HE.
  4. Evaluation - survey possible approaches and evaluation by application of J. Pearl’s structural causal models for identification of effects of strategic decision.


As we develop the theoretical model we will work on its verification via a case study research of a very important issue within HE - the implementation of e-learning including open and distance learning.



Research Team

Project leader: Full prof. Blaženka Divjak, Ph.D.

Adress: University of Zagreb, Faculty of organization and informatics; Pavlinska 2; 42000 Varaždin

E-mail: blazenka.divjak@foi.hr

Phone: +385 42 390-842

Official Web page: Blaženka Divjak

This is an interdisciplinary project connecting Social Sciences (ICT, multicriteria decision making, strategic planning) and Mathematics (mathematical modelling, quantitative methods in decision making, structural causal models and graph theory).

This project strikes a balance between theoretical and applied research providing verification of theoretical concepts and models. Therefore the project team is interdisciplinary - the members have backgrounds in Social Sciences, Natural Sciences but also hands-on experience in university management. There is also a balance between junior researchers (PhD and postdoc students) and experienced senior researchers.


The project results are accomplished according to the detailed project work plan in English or in Croatian language. Please follow the link to the Croatian project webpage to see details. Should you have additional questions please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Work plan