Since the early 2000s Australian education authorities have been working towards an open standard for interoperability to improve the quality of digital learning services available to students and teachers and manage the cost of digital infrastructure.
Early work centred on standardising the way learning resources are developed, packaged and distributed, based on specifications developed by the IMS Global Learning Consortium. This work has resulted in the National Digital Learning Resources Network through which Australian schools have access to more than 50,000 high quality resources.
With the establishment of NSIP attention has focussed on standards for interconnecting the many information systems used in the education sector. This work is centred on the Systems Interoperability Framework.
SIF simplifies interoperability by using a common data model designed specifically to meet the needs of school education and providing a range of direct and brokered data integration models to exchange data between systems.
SIF has been used in the United States school sector over the past decade, and in 2008 was adopted as the standard for schools in the United Kingdom.
Ministers of Education have endorsed SIF as the preferred method of exchanging information across the Australian schools sector. In December 2013 school authorities and key vendors released a statement of supported for the adoption of SIF in Australia.
NSIP is conducting research and collaborating with standards bodies to identify new opportunities for joining data and services to create rich, secure and innovative online learning environments for Australian school education. This includes support for IMS-QTI and IMS-LTI.