Digital Service Standard for eLearning

Tom Worthington

Slides and notes:
For Canberra User Experience Meetup, 15 September 2016.

Description: Tom Worthington looks at the way e-leanring is delivered using the Moodle, an Australian developed free open source Learning Management System used by many government agencies, schools and universities in Canberra. Tom has designed an award winning university course using Moodle and will discuss it features, particularly how it has been adapted to mobile devices. The Austrlaian Government has developed a "Digital Service Standard", which can be applied to education.

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Digital Service Standard

  1. Understand user needs
  2. Have a multi-disciplinary team
  3. Agile and user-centered process
  4. Understand tools and systems
  5. Make it secure
  6. Consistent and responsive design
  7. Use open standards and common platforms
  8. Make source code open
  9. Make it accessible
  10. Test the service
  11. Measure performance
  12. Encourage everyone to use the digital service

From "Digital Service Standard", Australian Government, 2016.

The Austrlaian Government has developed a "Digital Service Standard", which is normally thpught to services such as applying for benifits and paying taxes. However, the same principles can be applied to the design and delivery of educaiton.

Digital Service Standard applied to educaiton:

  1. Understand user needs: Course designers have typically looked to the needs of unviersites for what they should teach, rather than looking to what the ghraduate, those emply them and the community needs
  2. Have a multi-disciplinary team: Subject matter experts need the assitace of specalist learning designers,
  3. Agile and user-centered process: Courses need to be designed in less than a three year cycle
  4. Understand tools and systems: University degrees made up of a collection of unrelated courses are unliekly to provide the studnt with an integrated experence
  5. Make it secure: Educaitonal systems will be increasingly targeted by state sponsored hackers, as well as ordinary criminals, lookign for interlectual property to steal, as well as personal data to be used for identity theft
  6. Consistent and responsive design: Students now rotinely use their mobile devices for study. Applicaitons and coruse content needs to be designed for this envrionment
  7. Use open standards and common platforms: Use of courseware built using standards which can be ported betwen sopftware platforms and applciaiotns helps reduce costs
  8. Make source code open: Applicaitons such as Moodle and Mahara are free open source, however, the courseware can also be made open access
  9. Make it accessible: Accessibility for the disabled also helps all students, by providing content which can be easily access
  10. Test the service: Testing of courses is often an afterthought, with students used as involintary test subjects. Coursware needs to be at least Alpha tested, before being given to studnts in a real course
  11. Measure performance: E-leanring systems store large amounts of data about use of the system, which can be comapred to the studnt marks and results of student feedback surveys to see what works andf what students like (whioch are not necxessarly the same)
  12. Encourage everyone to use the digital service: The largest impediment to e-leanring is from university professors, who have not been trained in modern (and in some cases any) teaching techniques. All new academics should be required to obtain a teaching qualificaiton copverning the use of e-leanring, by using e-leanring.

Mobile learning

Responsive design is now incorporated into learning software, such as Moodle and Mahara (Video)

The designer just need to consider what is a suitable amount of content and task for the mobile learner

Desktop software used for e-leanring, such as Moodle has been upgraded to use responsive web design and automatically adjust the interface when displayed on a mobile device (see video "Tom Demonstrating Responsive Web Design"). This still requires the educational designer to consider the context of where the learner is. The mobile interface is useful for presenting small amounts of information and asking for a short response. However, the student is unlikely to be able to write a 4,000 word essay, while sitting on a bus.

ANU TechLauncher

ANU Techlaucher computing group projects:

  1. Six months or one year, or longer projects
  2. Government or industry client, or student start-up
  3. Assisted by the Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN).
  4. On-line project management tools are used as well as learning management software

Could be applied beyond IT and for on-line students learning to work in virtual teams.

This semester I have been tutoring three teams of ANU Techlaucher students in a program devised by Dr Shayne Flint. This provides a model which could be used more generally for teaching "soft" as well as hard skills to university students. This can be applied to any university program where the students are learning skills which can be applied in the workplace. The use of on-line project management tools allows for teaching of techniques of virtual teamwork and can be used with on-line distance education students. This is teaching an approach very simialr to the Government's Digital Service Standard.

More Information

  1. The presentation notes are at:
  2. Slides for these notes are also available
  3. See also Learning to Teach On-line with an E80 Blend, Canberra e-Learning Special Interest Group, Australian Computer Society, 23 November 2016
  4. Tom Worthington

Version 1.0, 18 September 2016, Tom Worthington

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Digital Service Standard for eLearning by Tom Worthington is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.