19 years in the VET industry has given me a fair idea of what I like to see in an information system. There is a lot of chatter about LMS's and what constitutes an ideal LMS, as in Tony Karrer's recent posting. However as an RTO we have to deal with an overwhelming amount of data, and I like my data to be accessable, searchable, sortable, reportable & reliable. Further, I like to be able to use data collaboratively and to help others to be as interested in data as I am.
So what do I mean by the above specifications list?
Data to me is any form of information I need.
Accessable data means data that anyone in the organisation can find, view and share, preferably held and accessed through one system.
Searchable data means data collection in which any element of the data can be searched for.
Sortable data means data that is able to be reconstructed in a number of user friendly ways.
Reportable data means data that can be extracted and compiled in useful formats.
Reliable data means data that is complete and accurate, not half vacant and repeated in more than one place.
An ideal data system must be simple. The user interface must be intuitive. The pathways to data elements should be built around a `two click' rule, never more than two clicks to get to the area you need.
An ideal data system must `talk' to any other data system it needs to communicate with. The growing requirements for reporting learner statistics to clients, to internal clients for use in evaluation and continuous improvement and for reporting statistics and finance to regulators should not create a major resource crisis in the RTO.
An ideal data system will be supported by a vendor who realises that client end users are their most valuable source of continuous improvement feedback loops, and who employs people who are able to interface between users and system builders to create feedback loops that result in not just solutions, but also systems that become second nature to all of us adminstrating in the increasingly complex business of the regulated training environment.
Can you add to or enlarge on this list? What do we need to tell the developers?