In an article last year from his blog, Tony Bates talks about productivity in education. Bates explains that productivity in industry does not always align with the definition of productivity in education.
As an example Bates refers to a definition of productivity growth from the Industry Canada website. The definition on this site focuses on two factors: becoming more capital intensive and using technology to become more productive. If that example is transferred to the business of higher education, you can see how it breaks down. Although educational technology can enhance a good quality education, the use of educational technology alone does not in itself make higher education more productive.
Bates goes on to explain in his blog post Technology, teaching and productivity: the need for a theory, that in order for productivity to increase in higher education we need to stop focusing on costs alone, and look at teaching methods and learning outcomes in conjunction with costs.
Check out the full article here to see the ideas that Tony brainstorms for a theory regarding productivity: