The online course search tool ensures the Victorian Skills Gateway is a sector leading site centred on specific audience and stakeholder needs.

The solution enables potential vocational education students to make informed course selections that lead to identified job outcomes.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development required a new online vocational education and training course search tool that was simple, effective and carefully tailored to the user and stakeholder needs to drive responsive and customer-oriented engagement and service delivery.

A simple, effective way to find and compare courses

To meet the highly specific audience needs identified in the research phase, a design specification for the online course search tool was based on the following concepts:

  • Multiple ways to search – the course search can begin with a location, an occupation, a study area (fields of education) or a course name
  • Multiple navigation pathways to the most relevant content – each audience pathway is presented with related content (occupations, stories, external links) during searching
  • Comparative data – users can easily compare options in terms of criteria they value (attendance, locations, etc).

The solution developed is largely based on an eBay model –three basic principles apply in this case:

  • Searches are simple – and followed by more sophisticated refinements – initial searches cannot be complex for our target audiences.
  • User preferences are available – users have different preferences in how they search for courses (by provider location, by course name, by outcome or occupation etc), based on their knowledge and particular stage in the decision-making process.
  • A focus on specific audience needs – a specific set of information topics is provided for each key audience segment, search options are labelled in language relevant to the audience, result refinements are tailored to each audience.