Saturday, May 24, 2008

When will we 'GET' the single sign-on approach?

One of the many reasons why Google is so successful is because it has the 'single sign-on' for its bank of tools. Their 'home' page portal - igoogle - not only allows you to draw in all of the Google tools you've registered for, but allows you to bring in 'feeds' like blogs, podcasts, photos and bookmarks from other websites.

edna also has a range of websites and tools for educator which are readily accessible through a single login account.

OpenID allows a user to log into a range of websites which are not related in any way through using a singe 'ID'.

So surely the technology to link a farm of e-marketing, e-business and e-learning tools using a SINGLE SIGN-ON ID must be possible/available for a large Registered Training Organisation (RTO)?

Consider this scenario:
An individual is either retrenched or decides they would like to change jobs or careers or wants to enter the workforce for the first time or after a lengthy absence. They know they need some training.
They access a large Registered Training Organisation's (RTOs) website. They might know what training they require and enter a few key words to find the course they are interested in. If they don't they know which course they should be enrolling in, they are able to undertake a 'Skills Analysis' and discover a suitable course.

Before even enrolling, the individual's 'Skills Analysis' highlights the existing skills they have in this area for which they will NOT need any further training. As this is Accredited Training, the individual will need to provide evidence of their prior learning/existing skills, known as Recognition of Prior Learning or RPL, to gain status for the units of training.
If the opportunity to gain RPL is possible - then an appointment time is generated for an RPL interview - after which the individual will enrol (either online or at the RTO). If not, an appointment time might be generated for some 'course counselling' or the individual can simply enrol online.

This enrolment 'generates' a student identification which is a SINGLE SIGN-ON ID. Via a customised portal - either on campus or 'remotely' - the individual has access to:

- Their enrolment details (ie what units they are enrolled in) and their Acdemic Transcripts (ie the results for the units they have enrolled in) - and allows them to update their personal details
- Their student email and the student intranet/internet site
- The RTOs Library (on campus and online)
- Their e-Portfolio, where they store the work they create for their course, which would have previously been stored on a internal 'student drive'. The individual can then generate 'views' of their work to submit to their trainers, to potential employers, to their colleagues etc.
- The Learning Tools of the RTO such as the Learning Management System, Voice/Audio Tools, Web Conferencing tools, and the RTOs Virtual World. They would not have access to everything - only those Learning Tools which they will require to successfully undertake their training.
Staff within this RTO also have a SINGLE SIGN-ON ID generated when they start with the organisation. Their SINGLE SIGN-ON ID allows them to access to all of the above, including being able to access any students' information according to a hierarchy of authority, as well as, access to their own HR information, allowing them to update personal information and access their own payroll/leave entitlement details.
The staff SINGLE SIGN-ON ID also allows access to the RTOs Learning Content Management Repository, which houses all of the RTOs digital learning objects/content - which reduces repetition in the development of materials, and helps improve consistency and quality in resources - and is easily searchable through the use of 'tagging'/appropriate metadata. The Organisation's Learning Content Management Respository is also linked to State and National Learning Object Repository Networks, which offers access to system wide resources using the AEShareNet licensing system.
Access by hierarchy of authority would also be available for the Organisation's Document Management System and Financial Management Systems.
So why don't we have a system which brings together a range of ICT systems and tools - where the client (external and internal) perceives them as ONE SINGLE functioning system?
Why are we reliant on decision makers who do not understand ICT systems and how they support their core business? And why haven't they included an e-learning/e-business/e-marketing 'line in the budget' to give status to the development of the SINGLE SIGN-ON ID?
When will the techies/engineers of our ICT systems move on from a 'form follows function' approach to ICT system development - and work with environmental designers to develop a 'humancentred interactive ICT system'?
I'm not sure how we are going to be able to achieve the South Australian Skills Strategy and implement the e-learning systems needed to achieve the planned targets of reduced on-campus training using e-learning when our current systems don't fuction effectively enough together or are able embrace current and future technologies to adequately support these planned goals.

1 comment:

alexanderhayes said...

Your a brave person Alison. I'm looking forward to some connections through the year that empower learners with accessible and transportable e-portfolios and perhaps I'll have some examples at AUSTAFE to spruik :)