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Achieving year-on-year increases in e-learning engagement for Ofsted

Consolidating two existing learning management systems into one engaging platform to serve inspectors and other staff at the UK government’s education inspection department.

Ofsted – the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills – is the government department responsible for inspecting schools and other educational institutions in England. It provides regular training to approximately 4,000 staff, of which around three-quarters are inspectors, who work remotely.

It needs to deliver training to those inspectors, while also offering personal development and system training to all employees.

Two existing Moodle platforms used for training the two different audiences suffered from duplication, inconsistency and poor levels of engagement. Ofsted wanted to provide a uniform learning experience for all its learners, while serving the different learning needs of internal staff and external inspectors.

The new consolidated platform needed to:

  • Provide an intuitive user experience, making it simple for learners and administrators to find what they need.
  • Be easy to access, with a simple login method.
  • Be compatible with all existing learning materials.
  • Maintain the integrity of existing learning data from the Moodle sites.
  • Generate useful management information on learners.
  • Avoid unnecessary customisation, which might hinder future development.
LMS mockup Ofsted

The Solution: Streamlined and easier to access

Totara Partner Synergy Learning worked with Ofsted to create a Totara Learn virtual learning environment, LearnSpace, which replaced the two previous Moodle sites.

Despite streamlining to a single platform serving both inspectors and internal staff, Ofsted can now more easily deliver relevant learning to its different groups of learners.

It is also much easier for all learners to access learning materials. Using a single sign-on process, staff using other Ofsted systems are now automatically logged into LearnSpace. Ofsted’s firewall made that option impossible for inspectors working remotely, so Synergy Learning developed a dual login system to give external staff access to the same platform.

Synergy Learning's UX designers created a branded theme that was similar in look and feel to existing Ofsted systems in order to encourage familiarity and engagement among learners. The platform has been developed in accordance with public sector accessibility regulations.

The platform incorporates self-booking for courses and face-to-face learning. Synergy Learning also included an expertise database, so Ofsted can quickly find the right inspectors to undertake specific pieces of research or consultancy.

Current Learning in Ofsted LMS

Synergy Learning made use of the extensive features within Totara to deliver all the functionality Ofsted requires while avoiding customisation.

The Results

Ofsted’s new LearnSpace platform enjoys immediate brand recognition within the organisation as the first port of call for undertaking or sharing learning

learnspace ofsted lms

More than 91% of the 3,904 registered users have used the platform within the past six months. This represents a significant increase in engagement in comparison to the previous e-learning platforms.

There was a 5% increase in staff members who agreed “I am able to access the right learning and development opportunities when I need to” in the 12 months after LearnSpace launched.

"This project was a big step for Ofsted, but our decision to select Synergy Learning and Totara Learn has proved to be the right choice. We’ve received great support throughout the project, and I’m sure that will continue as we explore further enhancements to the platform. As relative newcomers to VLE provision, we’ve welcomed Synergy Learning’s willingness to challenge our thinking on occasions, and – aside from making the working relationship more of a partnership – we’ve definitely seen improvements in the platform as a result. The measure of the success is that LearnSpace is now an accepted brand within Ofsted. Everyone in Ofsted knows what it is."
– Ian Wallbridge, Senior Officer, Organisational Development Systems