E-learning standards get national agreement

Teachers and trainers from across Australia will soon be able touse and access e-learning resources which meet a nationalstandard.

The National Senior Officials Committee, which comprises theheads of vocational and technical education in Australia, hasendorsed the adoption of standards which set a benchmark for thetechnical design of electronic learning resources.

The standards were put forward by the Flexible Learning AdvisoryGroup, which oversees the national training system’s e-learningstrategy, the Australian Flexible Learning Framework. The standardshave been researched and compiled through the Framework’sE-standards for Training Project.

Updates to the standards are reviewed and ratified by theE-standards Expert Group, a group of technical managers supportinge-learning, from each state and territory, and relevant nationalinitiatives across Australia.

E-standards Expert Group chairman Rodney Spark said theagreement allows for the development of standardized e-learningresources which are compatible with the various learning andresource management systems used by states and territories aroundAustralia.

“E-learning now plays an integral part in the delivery ofvocational and technical education and these standards are part ofdeveloping Australia’s knowledge infrastructure for the 21stcentury,” Spark said.

“These standards are like railway gauge sizes. If each state andterritory uses different sized gauges, it makes it extremelydifficult to travel around Australia on the one train.

“The same is true with e-learning resource standards. If we havedifferent development standards around Australia we limit ourchances of having an integrated e-learning infrastructure.”

Spark said a national training system will allow a teacher ortrainer in the state of Tasmania to recommend a fantastice-learning resource which suits the needs of their students and beconfident they will be able to access and use it despite the factit is developed in Western Australia.

“We expect teachers to be able to search from their desktop forresources from across Australia and avoid the duplication of effortwhich results if resources have to be developed from scratch to fitlocal platforms,” he said.

The standards will allow e-learning resources to work acrossmultiple electronic platforms as well as meet internationalstandards.

The standards focus on eight areas including content formats,content packaging, metadata and vocabularies, digital repositoryinteroperability, intellectual property web services, accessibilityand client platforms.

Spark said developing Australian e-learning resources tointernationally recognized standards not only improves the qualityof vocational and technical education delivered in Australia italso increases the export potential of Australia’s e-learningprograms and resources.

For more information on the E-standards for Training Project,and the full list of endorsed standards visit http://e-standards.flexiblelearning.net.au/

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