Implementing the BS 8426 British Standard for supporting online learners

The seminar on ‘Supporting e-learners’, at which Seb Schmoller and I were due to present, didn’t happen in January and we’ve been told recently that it’s postponed indefinitely. We had already prepared a eight-page handout for our presentation [PDF, 156KB], which we’ve been given permission to publish.

The background: in 02002 Seb and I won a contract with BSI to write the draft for public comment (DPC) of BS 8426. This British Standard covers e-support, which is defined as a “response, during e-learning, to a learner–, system– or tutor–interaction, the purpose of which is to facilitate effective, efficient and satisfying learning”. It includes things like automatic prompts, online documentation, tutor email, and all points between — but it does not include general help systems.

Consultation on the DPC ended in mid-02003 and the standard was published later that year.

Our session, and the associated handout, were written to provide:

  • an overview of BS 8426 and of BSI’s rationale for producing it;
  • practical examples of BS 8426 in use;
  • a chance to discuss with the original authors of the standard the “real world” suitability of standards such as BS 8426.

If and when the seminar is re-scheduled, I’ll post about it on this site.

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