The newsletter failed a W3C Markup Validation, with 463 Errors, the highest number I have seen for a web page. It also had problems with an automated accessibility test for the disabled:
The newsletter format could be made bit simpler, as well as fixing the technical errors. One way would be to design it for a mobile phone. Not that anyone would read it on a mobile phone, but that would curb some of the web designers excesses. Another way would be to have an RSS feed which strips off the formatting and gives short, readable items.
Test summary outcome Automatic Human review Priority 1 0 268 Priority 2 245 249 Priority 3 19 77
From: Testing outcome: http://flexenews.flexiblelearning.net.au/, TAW 3.0 (8/25/08 4:56 AM) Validation conform to WAI guidelines, W3C Recommendation 5 May 1999
State Based Administration of VET
The Australian Flexible Learning Framework is a national training e-learning strategy, but is administered by state governments. As a result, training organisations taking part have to be registered in a state and obtain funding and support via that state. This does not make a lot of sense for developing e-learning systems which are designed to be location independent.
This adds to the problem that e-learning initiatives for the vocational sector are separate to those for universities. As a result it will be very difficult to get cooperation on standards for e-learning and e-portfolios and much of the government funding will be wasted on duplicated and conflicting efforts.
The Federal Government is conducting a Review of Australian Higher Education. The Discussion Paper (June 2008) touches on the high cost of e-learning. One way to reduce those costs would be to merge university and vocational e-learning programs. Another would be to make the vocational programs national, with no distinction made for what state a training organisation happens to be physically located in. Courses, tools and standards could then be developed for educational use across Australia and across education sectors.