Learner Centred Systems: A 21st Century Reality

Over recent months RSC London has been asked to provide support to several learning providers who are in the process of reviewing their IT Service. This is a particular area of interest to me having been an IT Director in my previous role. We have been working with FE, HE and Adult Education colleges helping them to get the most from their IT Service and plan for the future.

Over the past two decades I have seen a truly amazing change not just in the technology but also the way the business processes are now managed in forward thinking colleges. In the early days colleges procured a host of specialised systems to manage the different areas of the business. Over the years these systems have become more powerful and more complex. The aim now is to move toward unified systems that really do act as one.

Towards 21st Century Systems_web

Good systems design these days is about usability as much as features, i.e. how intuitive are your systems to use? After all, you don’t need to go on a course to use Facebook or Amazon. Some colleges are really moving forward with truly learner centered systems that offer a personalised user experience. The user is not aware of the different systems that they are accessing. The interface is a web page which can be accessed anywhere via computers, Macs and mobile devices such as smartphones.

The providers who are exemplars at this are those who have a vision of what they want to achieve but also who have sought input from their learners in the design and specification of the system. In these colleges usage figures and user feedback clearly show that this is the way forward. I addition, costs are reduced as business processes become more streamlined.

What will the relationship be between systems and users and between learning providers and their students as the 21st century progresses? What will learners expect of their college information systems? How will we meet these challenges? These are all questions that will help us get to the future and I am very much looking forward to the journey.

For more information on this topic contact Martin Sepion at RSC London m.sepion@rsc-london.ac.uk