The Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) has begun the process of market testing the now six-year-old Learning Management System (LMS) used across the State’s 80+ TAFE campuses by more than 200,000 students.
Suppliers have until 20 May to register their interest in providing a software-as-a-service solution to replace the Janison-based system currently operating. Solutions will need to facilitate the online delivery of TAFE courses, track student’s training pathways, and provide collaboration, communication and assessment tools.
The DETE says that a massive expansion in usage of its elearning platforms, paired with an evolution of the LMS marketplace since its current system was implemented in 2007, has driven this latest approach to market. In the 12 months to December 2012, the current system held 19,235 courses and had registered 2,973,815 user sessions, says the tender documentation.
However these documents also acknowledge that major reforms to the State’s vocational education system have also made the procurement of a more cost-efficient elearning system a priority.
In November 2012 the Newman Government announced that it had agreed to the vast majority of recommendations made by the Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce, which advised that the State’s TAFE system be dramatically rationalised and opened to a competitive training market. This included closing just under half of all TAFE campuses and redirecting the proceeds of their sale into improving the remainder of the system.
The Government says it will release the full details of its five-year plan for vocational education in the first half of this year.
With a more competitive and potentially less funded future approaching, the DETE is looking to “address inefficiencies and reduce costs associated with the current support arrangement for the LMS” by transitioning to a software-as-a-service solution when the contract for its current Janison-based system expires in September 2013.
It hopes to have finalised a contract by August 2013, with system implementation due to continue through to 30 April 2015.
The new system will operate alongside the DETE’s Equella-based TAFE Learning Content Management System.
Queensland TAFE’s most significant ICT partnership is its 15-year ICT support deal with Unisys, which was extended by two years out to 1 October 2014 in January this year. The extension was worth $29.4 million and will see Unisys continue to support approximately 500 servers and 21,000 desktops, manage the local and wide area networks, and provide help desk services to respond to approximately 74,000 support calls per year, according to a statement.
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