With 2 new websites that are easier to maintain and navigate, guidance counsellors, teachers and other stakeholders have better access to resources on guidance, guides for best practice and
Online courses as part of their Continual Professional Development (CPD) programme.
The National Centre for Guidance in Education is an agency of the Department of Education and Skills, with responsibility to support and develop guidance practice in all areas of education and to inform the policy of the Department in the field of guidance. NCGE also host the Euroguidance Centre Ireland.
Enovation initially began working with NGCE in 2011, providing them with a customised, fully hosted and managed VLE based on Moodle, in order to deliver CPD courses to guidance counsellors who enrol on a voluntary basis.
Apart from the VLE, NCGE also traditionally operated a range of websites to support the strategic activities of the agency – the NCGE website, the School Guidance Handbook, the FET Guidance Handbook , and the National Guidance Forum – to help inform, influence and support the development of guidance policy and guidance provision. NCGE also hosts the Euroguidance Centre Ireland to support mobility throughout Europe through the provision and exchange of information about learning, study and training opportunities. This existing architecture consisting of multiple websites on three different platforms hosted and maintained by several suppliers made it difficult for NCGE to manage content.
In early 2017, NGCE launched an open call for tender to simplify its digital setup. The tender also included the continuing provision of the hosting and support services of the VLE.
After a comprehensive tender process, Enovation was selected for the re-development of NCGE’s 2 main websites (NCGE & Euroguidance Ireland) using the open source content management system, Drupal. The project involved the migration and consolidation of the former separates websites detailed above into 2 simplified Drupal instances, making it easier to manage content while reducing hosting and maintenance costs. As an open source product Drupal incurs no added licence fee.
The new site was built to be responsive, with improved navigation and accessibility that works seamlessly on all devices. All previous separate URLs, except the VLE and Euroguidance, are now sub domains of the main website ncge.ie. Drupal gives non-technical administrators the ability to easily manage, upload and modify content, across the main website, and its subdomains.
Look & Feel
Previously each website had its own distinct design, so it was a requirement for this project to harmonise the design across all former sites – except Euroguidance Ireland which is part of a European network – using the look and feel of the main NGCE website. While a related theme was also applied to Moodle for a more seamless user experience, we also reviewed the VLE layout to improve access to course content, making it a key destination for users.
– Social Networks (Twitter, Facebook) were integrated with the main NCGE website and Moodle.
– Mailchimp was integrated to enable reporting and analysis of site visits generated from marketing campaigns.
– Google Analytics was embedded to aid NGCE in site traffic analysis.
Migration & Upgrade
Enovation migrated the legacy sites to the new NGCE main website, and performed QA testing to make sure all content transferred correctly. Particular attention was given to the Handbook Resources, which are the core online resources to support the development and delivery of guidance programmes. We made sure the handbooks were easily and intuitively accessible across the site.
The new web sites (Drupal) and upgraded VLE (Moodle) are hosted and maintained by Enovation.
We worked with Enovation on a complete redesign of our websites via the Drupal CMS. The new websites are fully responsive, more user-friendly, and act as a true portal to better orientate our audiences to our varied activities and resources. This also allows for better promotion of our VLE and encourages stakeholders to enrol and engage in the courses we offer. In the longer-term, this consolidation will reduce the ongoing maintenance costs associated with our online presence, freeing up budget for enhanced design and user experience changes going forward. Having a single point of contact and service level agreement for all technical and end user issues also simplifies communications and ensure issues are dealt with in a timely manner.
With a simplified web architecture and improved accessibility to the VLE, NCGE is confident the number of guidance counsellors enrolling in courses will increase substantially by the end of year.
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