For two years, New Zealand’s borders were closed due to Covid-19, which in turn meant international students couldn’t study here. In 2022, students were able to return to New Zealand (NZ) to study. At the same time, the Ministry of Education's International Student Wellbeing Strategy (ISWS) was revitalised. This Wellbeing Strategy focuses on:
- Economic wellbeing
- Health and wellbeing
ISANA NZ (International Education Association New Zealand) is a membership-driven organisation representing the entire international education sector. They ensure international students have the best possible experience studying in New Zealand, from primary to tertiary level.
To support students returning to NZ post-pandemic, ISANA created an online 'Capability Toolkit' for international education practitioners with support from ENZ Manapou ki te Ao.
The Toolkit helps international education practitioners support the 'transition' and 'inclusion' of our international students. The resources are targeted, and timely, but they were text heavy and dense. Therefore making it difficult for educators to digest and engage with the content within their busy schedules.
ISANA NZ partnered with Wellington-based creative studio, Studio C Design, and education consultancy, Lift Education. They applied for Ministry of Education funding to turn some of the Toolkit content into interactive, online micro-learning modules. Together, the three organisations were successful in their funding bid and used it to create six micro-learning modules. The modules bring the existing static Toolkit content to life through:
- Engaging click-through slide decks and accordion-style dropdowns.
- Interactive activities and illustrations.
- Accessible video clips that highlight authentic industry voices.
The modules also needed a future-proofed home, as ISANA NZ did not have a Learning Management System (LMS). ISANA NZ engaged Catalyst IT to build and host a new Moodle LMS. As a Certified Premium Moodle Partner, Catalyst built and now hosts ISANA's Moodle LMS. With Catalyst owned hosting services, the data within the LMS also remains protected under NZ regulations at all times.
The new solution went live in July 2023, and new modules continue to be added. The module topics range from te reo Māori pronunciation, and mental health support, to building skills for employability. To our collective knowledge, this is the first toolkit of its kind in Australasia.
Supporting practitioners and student success
By turning the resources into short, interactive online micro-learning, the team created an accessible, engaging learning experience. Thus, the new micro-learning modules are equipping international education practitioners with the skills they need. Including meeting and exceeding the new Pastoral Care Code of Practice requirements. Ultimately, international education staff are better prepared to continue doing what they do best — guiding and inspiring their students.