Te Kura finalist in Best Design Awards 2018

A school’s online learning environment, which has transformed the way distance students learn, is a finalist in the 2018 Best Design Awards.

‍The Awards, by the Designers Institute of New Zealand, showcase excellence in graphic, spatial, product, interactive and motion design.

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura)’s online learning environment has been recognised for two awards in the User Experience categories of Optimising and Empowering.

Te Kura provides distance education for over 20,000 students a year from early childhood through to NCEA qualifications.

The school has been transitioning its education resources from paper-based booklets delivered by post, to multi-sensory, interactive online modules.

“We needed to modernise from postal, paper-based delivery, to provide the best delivery for our teaching and learning and equip our learners as citizens of the 21st century,” says Te Kura Chief Executive Mike Hollings.

The design and creation of the learning environment was championed by Te Kura’s Creative Services team. “We needed an intuitive interface, that was scalable and personalised to each student to allow for easy engagement with learning,” says Creative Services Manager Chris Lawrence.

The Creative Services team used three defined principles to ensure My Te Kura provided students with the learning and tools they need to be successful – it would be design-led; it would be clear, clean and concise; it would be simple.

The result is over 1,200 interactive online learning modules built to deliver the New Zealand curriculum. The modules are currently unique in the New Zealand education sector.

“We relied heavily on student voice to understand our users’ diverse needs and complemented this with user experience trends to create an innovative and unique personalised design,” says Chris.

“Now, Te Kura students can learn when and where it suits them. Instant online access means no delay for learners in accessing courses, as well as the speedy return of work,” says Chris.

Te Kura Deputy Chief Executive Ako Marg McLeod says the success of My Te Kura comes down to collaboration. “We’ve listened to students and teachers and come up with a learning environment that is educationally sound, beautifully designed and user-friendly. I’m very proud of what the Creative Services team and our wider Te Kura community has developed.”

Mike Hollings says that along with the increased flexibility, “Technology can really enhance the vital student-teacher relationship. There’s a huge amount of potential still to realise and Te Kura will continue to innovate to provide learners with access to the quality education they deserve.”

The winners of the Best Design Awards will be announced in Auckland on Saturday 22 September.

The following video features students talking about how My Te Kura benefits them. Watch the video on YouTube