Teachers and trainers from across Australia will soon be able to use and access e-learning resources which meet a national standard.
The National Senior Officials Committee, which comprises the heads of vocational and technical education in Australia, has endorsed the adoption of standards which set a benchmark for the technical design of electronic learning resources.
The standards were put forward by the Flexible Learning Advisory Group, which oversees the national training system's e-learning strategy, the Australian Flexible Learning Framework. The standards have been researched and compiled through the Framework's E-standards for Training Project.
Updates to the standards are reviewed and ratified by the E-standards Expert Group, a group of technical managers supporting e-learning, from each state and territory, and relevant national initiatives across Australia.
E-standards Expert Group chairman Rodney Spark said the agreement allows for the development of standardized e-learning resources which are compatible with the various learning and resource management systems used by states and territories around Australia.
"E-learning now plays an integral part in the delivery of vocational and technical education and these standards are part of developing Australia's knowledge infrastructure for the 21st century," Spark said.
"These standards are like railway gauge sizes. If each state and territory uses different sized gauges, it makes it extremely difficult to travel around Australia on the one train.
"The same is true with e-learning resource standards. If we have different development standards around Australia we limit our chances of having an integrated e-learning infrastructure."
Spark said a national training system will allow a teacher or trainer in Tasmania to recommend a fantastic e-learning resource which suits the needs of their students and be confident they will be able to access and use it despite the fact it is developed in Western Australia.
"We expect teachers to be able to search from their desktop for resources from across Australia and avoid the duplication of effort which results if resources have to be developed from scratch to fit local platforms," he said.
The standards will allow e-learning resources to work across multiple electronic platforms as well as meet international standards.
The standards focus on eight areas including content formats, content packaging, metadata and vocabularies, digital repository interoperability, intellectual property web services, accessibility and client platforms.
Spark said developing Australian e-learning resources to internationally recognized standards not only improves the quality of vocational and technical education delivered in Australia it also increases the export potential of Australia's e-learning programs 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/