Government likely to adopt single tertiary e-learning portal

A proposed single national online learning strategy for the tertiary sector is likely to be adopted by government.

A proposed single national online learning strategy for the tertiary sector is likely to be adopted by government.

The government-sponsored online learning advisory group has recommended the evolution of a single national e-learning strategy for the tertiary sector, and the government will be implementing the report, says a spokesman for associate education minister Steve Maharey, to whom the report was presented.

The group’s report, issued last week, is strong on collaboration among educational institutions and other “institutions with appropriate expertise” in the business of teaching, learning and measuring learning outcomes and educational technology. It suggests that these should form into a formal government-funded “tertiary e-learning consortium”.

The report recommends the development of a single educational portal to give aspiring students quick access to the online resources available throughout the country to further their learning, and to information about online and offline educational resources.

The report is specifically directed at tertiary learning. “It does not cover the compulsory learning sector [of primary and secondary schools],” says the spokesman for Maharey.

The e-learning group clearly has an eye to export of courseware, either physically or over the internet.

“We must expand our vision of export education to harness the potential of e-learning, extending our educational services to people all over the world who may never set foot in this country,” the report says.

At the same time, it counsels development promotion of a specifically New Zealand style of learning for New Zealanders, with attention to Maori needs.

New Zealand’s inadequate digital communications structure, particularly in rural areas, is highlighted as a drawback to the e-learning plan that needs remedying.

First step beyond the report is to put a paper to Cabinet on the recommendations.

Given Cabinet approval “we will be implementing the report, and the government will be putting some resources into this”, says Maharey’s spokesman, but at press time he could not give details of timing or sums of money likely to be involved.

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