Using streamFLEX the NZIA has successfully turned around a situation where administrative constraints had been stifling the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) process. They now drive a positive and efficient framework that Architects love.
CPD Just Got Easy for Architects with streamFLEX
NZIA and NZRAB
The NZIA (New Zealand Institute of Architects) holds a contract with the NZRAB (New Zealand Registered Architects Board) to provide and administer the CPD programme for Architects.
The NZRAB is a function of the Registered Architects Act that was passed in 2005, and is responsible for the initial registration of all graduates of architecture and the ongoing registration of all Registered Architects. The New Zealand Institute of Architects is the professional body that represents architects and promotes architecture to the public.
The CPD programme helps Architects to carry out a set of educational activities, and record what was done so that a review can be carried out every 5 years. Where Architects can demonstrate that they have met the requirements of the NZRAB, they will be able to maintain their legal status of Registered Architect.
In its role to manage the CPD programme the NZIA had already identified the Internet being central to its strategy, and some solution development had already been attempted. However at the time of Stream's introduction to the project there had been a number of people changes from within the NZIA and the NZRAB, plus the tools were not working well. The team was faced with frustrated and confused Architects, and most of their time was spent calming irate complaints and putting fires out.
So Stream Interactive was tasked with creating an online solution that would:
- Maintain a database of Architects, as set by the NZRAB
- Maintain a database of education Providers
- Advertise educational events
- Provide for Architects to record their completion of activities
- Cater for Providers to record Architects attendance of their Events
- Provide a system for Architects to create and maintain networking Groups
- Allow for NZIA Administrators to manage Providers, Architects, Events and educational activities, handle assessment of Architect's activities, and maintain general site content
- Give clear reporting to Architects so they can see progress towards their annual and 5 year goals
As there were many parties involved with the CPD programme, the very first step of the process was to clearly identify each of the stakeholders in the project, and agree on the roles that each would play. This led to realistic project environment, clarity in the lines of communication, and clarity on who would need to give sign-offs during production.
With that established the second step was to identify the hard legal requirements as set out by the Registered Architects Act, and the ensuing rule set that had been established during implementation of the Act.
The third step was to establish the macro-environment. There was a need for data to be shared with the NZRAB website and the NZIA website, all while establishing a standalone CPD portal. This process mapped out which elements would belong where, what major functionality would be included, and most importantly made sure that Architects would be shielded from the politics and be given a single, simple site that would handle all their needs.
With the project environment cleanly organised the fourth step could now be handled, detailed design and production of the content. This included visual treatments and detailed handling of each of the functionality requirements.
Key to the success of this phase was use of streamFLEX. It provided a simple framework for creating the site structure and informational pages, and easily facilitated the addition of specialised sections.
A leading example of the custom content was the Group Management section. This lets Architects set up new Groups, maintain members, set meeting dates, set agendas, record minutes, record attendance and automatically assign CPD points. All history is held and is also available for review. It lets the NZIA authorise applications to set up new Groups, and to audit Group activity for legitimacy.
The results of this project have been spectacular. All stakeholders now have 24 x 7 access to their part of the system and are enjoying the benefits of an integrated solution.
The NZIA now spends its time focused on driving new initiatives such as online learning, and dealing with necessary administrative tasks such as auditing activities and working with Providers. Queries from Architects have dropped from daily lists to occasional genuine questions.
The NZRAB has a reliable record of Architects activities, and with the built-in reporting capabilities will be able to easily assess each Architect in relation to their CPD activity.
Architects are very appreciative as they can now deal with the administration of their CPD very quickly and easily. They can monitor progress towards their annual and 5 year goals by viewing dynamic charts that summarise their progress. They can see their detailed history, down to points by activity. They can record completion of activities, manage and participate with Groups. They can see lists of upcoming events. They can read about the rules and processes of the system. But most of all, they are happy to have their focus back on handling their education and business rather than dealing with a frustrating layer of red tape.