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Here's Why Data Interoperability Should be an RTO Priority

August 21, 2018

If you’re like most well-performing companies, you use multiple systems on a daily basis to power your organisation: Google Drive, Outlook, WordPress, Moodle, Xero… the list goes on.

These tools help drive your business in ways not possible without them. But at some point, hosting data in multiple systems can cause extra manual tasking. This is especially true when it comes to student management systems, where the hosting of up-to-date data is an RTO necessity.

If you’re looking for a way to cut back on compliance errors and free up some admin time, it may be worth looking into how you can leverage APIs to connect your data storage systems.

The Benefits of Data Interoperability

A student management system (SMS) captures all the information about a student, and a learner management system (LMS) captures all the information about their learning. By integrating the two, you can capture everything in the one place. There’s no double-handling of data, there’s more accuracy, and it makes things easier at reporting time.

Having your data in separate silos makes no sense. Why have employees transfer the data when you can set up your systems to move it for you? You’ll save time and money, keeping things accurate.

Get your SMS and LMS talking

The AQTF Standards in 2010 dictated that RTOs must have a student records management system to provide NCVER with AVETMISS-compliant data. The SMS collects data on an RTO’s operations, gathering information about its students, training, staff, and funding.

Data quality can’t be overlooked if you want to fly through your audits

If you’re a training organisation, chances are you already have a student management system in place to handle basic RTO functions. But an SMS is not—and shouldn’t be seen as—a necessary evil for AVETMISS compliance. A good SMS should do more for your business than just collect data; it can optimise the way your business operates. Some products handle CRM, run reports, automate processes, and make manual spreadsheets redundant (hallelujah!).

Learning management systems exist on a different part of the spectrum, offering a home for learning content, student records, courseware authoring, and curriculum management. There are plenty of benefits to having an LMS alongside your SMS, although not all training organisations need both.

Canvas is a popular choice, and even Yale and Harvard have opted for it over Moodle and Blackboard. Locally it’s being used by the University of Sydney and Velg Training, among others.

Canvas provides learners with accessibility, giving them an app they can use on the go. Whether you offer face-to-face, online-only, or blended learning, learner management systems like Canvas makes it easy for educators to create content.

You may have decided that you don’t need an LMS to handle your training offering—but if you’re unsure about which type of system is right for you, it’s easy to determine what your needs are and find a solution for your training.

If you are using an LMS, consider the benefits of hooking it up with your student records system. You’ll be thanking yourself at audit time.

It Doesn’t Stop There

In fact, it makes sense to integrate everything with your SMS: finances, CRM, e-learning.

You may find your individual systems are working well, but the power is multiplied when you combine them.

Auditors will be looking very closely at your SMS. If you’re using multiple systems, make sure they can talk to each other—your LMS can feed data to your SMS so that you don’t have to sweat it at audit time, as well as keep things running smoothly all year round. It’s a win-win.