The Australian National Training Authority, in collaboration with State and Territory Training Agencies has been working for a number of years on a Flexible Delivery Action Plan.
There are substantial advantages to be achieved by having State and Territory training systems using compatible delivery and administrative systems.
It was agreed early in the process that the option of mandating particular proprietary products was inappropriate. Firstly, it would be unethical for government agencies to limit competition among suppliers of hardware and software in this way. Secondly, such an action would stifle flexibility, creativity, innovation, and competition for training organisations.
On the other hand, the use of agreed industry standards would provide the basis for the realisation of the vision outlined in the section on Vision above. The term industry standard is taken to mean a published standard that is implemented by more than one manufacturer and allows interoperability of products from different manufacturers.
The autonomy of State and Territory Training Agencies, and the differing needs of individual training organisations, militate against the use of a prescriptive approach to the use of standards. The term Preferred Standards was adopted to maintain autonomy and flexibility while providing a basis for agreement.
In 1997, the Australian National Training Authority commissioned a project National Cooperation in Applying Technology to Vocational Education and Training. A National Technology Standards Policy and Maintenance Process was produced and later endorsed by CEOs of State and Territory Training Agencies. The policy has the following main planks
In 1998, the Australian National Training Authority commissioned a project National Cooperation on Technology for Vocational Education and Training. A report on Preferred Standards to Support National Cooperation in Applying Technology to Vocational Education and Training was produced. The Preferred Standards were endorsed by State and Territory Training Agency CEOs in March, 1999. The report is available at http://www.vicnet.net.au/~neptune/finrep.htm.
The Preferred Standards Project described in this report was run in the year 2000.