Higher Education Outreach Network

Delivering student learner content remotely during and after a pandemic

How does an organisation adapt to the changing needs of students to deliver information online when it's traditionally been delivered on-site?

In April 2020, it soon became clear that an organisation that delivers outreach programmes to students would not be able to deliver their normal run of events in schools and on campuses. HEON needed to adapt to ways of delivering valuable content to students remotely whilst still offering the same level of support that they had previously.

By using our discovery sprint, HEON learnt how we could work together to design a learner management system that could be configured to deliver courses of content, modules and quizzes that would facilitate the required participation from students, university ambassadors and HEON staff. The result was an overwhelming success.

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Questions and problems we helped solve during the project

  1. What’s an effective way of delivering learner content remotely?

    Being situated within the University of Surrey, there are existing systems which could have been used for learner management, however we designed and built the LMS (Learner Management System) to be specific to HEON’s requirements. Our WordPress solution allows flexibility of content publishing; a rich user experience; and an easy on-boarding process for students.

  2. How can learner participation be maximised online?

    Designing courses and modules to be visually engaging was part of our design process. For us it’s a simple UI/UX process that starts by understanding the people that are going to use the system. Once we understand their motivations, we start producing user flows and user stories that capture the essence of what they need to achieve online. By doing that, we’re set up to succeed in maximising their participation which is vital to the success of HEON.

  3. How can an organisation manage courses and modules effectively?

    A great information delivery product must not only engage the learners, but must make it easy to manage different courses, different audiences and different types of content (e.g. video, quizzes, embeds). WordPress offers a user-friendly dashboard as a framework for us to create a management interface to accomplish all of that. Training for clients typically takes 1-2 hours, which illustrates how simple our products are to use.

  4. How can accessibility requirements be met?

    HEON are publicly funded by the Office for Students which meant consideration for ensuring WCAG 2.1 AA standards under EU legislation. Accessibility is a complex area, often involving specialist tools and enhanced testing, but it is so important to all online products. At 10 Degrees we strive to produce all our work to at least WCAG 2.1 AA standards.

  5. What are the data privacy considerations for younger users?

    When we look at engaging with younger audiences, we have to ensure 100% compliance with GDPR and the age of consent (13 in the UK) for allowing their data to be processed. As well as compliance, we also ensured the product had sufficient safeguarding tools built to allow for moderation of forums, messaging and comments.

Discovery site map planning:

Thank you for the work you have all undertaken for the HEON site. We have been very pleased that you have taken our ideas and have produced a professional product that we are really happy with. When our funding body visited recently they were impressed with the content of the website.”

Harry Deards

Outreach Hub Officer

Higher Education Outreach Network

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