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Standards for e-learning packages

18 March 2009

How do we select commercial learning packages for use in the workplace?

The Australian Flexible Learning Framework has developed some standards, but these are focussed on their key theme, which is interoperability and sharing.

The AFLF technical standards do reflect key pragmatic considerations:

  • If the learning needs are already covered by an existing package from another organisation, use that.
  • The learning package must be easily updatable, in-house, for when business processes change.
  • The experiences of users must feed back into the design and delivery of the package.
  • The learning package needs to be able to be integrated into other learning tools, help files, and links inside and outside the business.
  • The learner needs to be able to track their progress (e-portfolios?)
  • The learning package needs to be able to weather developments in the delivery platform (and therefore needs to be written to the best authoring standards of the day)
  • There will be increasing demand to integrate the individual’s experience of the package with the off-line/human learning support offered by colleagues (blended learning).

We are also interested in the actual experience of the learning package: its usability as well as its usefulness. User testing is the best way to assess usability, but some principles (see, for example, standards developed by the University of Derby, and guidelines from Jakob Nielsen) include

  • some degree of consistency between learning packages from the same organisation
  • learning tasks presented in appropriately sized chunks (avoiding users having to recall or assimilate too much information at any one time)
  • professional graphic designers, if not interface designers should be involved from the beginning of the design
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