TAFE Queensland | Customer Success | D2L
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TAFE Queensland

Setting Record for Volunteer Training

Agile online training helps volunteers give spectators a warm welcome at the 2018 Commonwealth Games

Appointed as the Official Training Partner for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018), TAFE Queensland was tasked with training 15,000 volunteers. To ensure each individual was fully equipped for their role, TAFE Queensland harnessed D2L’s Brightspace platform to create engaging online training resources accessible to volunteers on any mobile device.

At a glance

Client: TAFE Queensland
Employees: 4000 staff
Learners: Over 120,000 learners including 7,500 International learners
Industry: Training

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  • Transform 15,000 applicants into skilled volunteers
  • Deliver diverse training solutions for over 200 roles
  • Empower volunteers to learn anytime, anywhere


  • D2L’s Brightspace learning platform
  • D2L’s Daylight user interface


  • Volunteers achieved an overall program completion rate of 80% – a new record for the Commonwealth Games
  • Training program achieved 94.1% employer satisfaction and 88.1% volunteer satisfaction
  • Provided easy access to online resources from any mobile device
  • Saved more than 1.8 million sheets of paper through digitisation, supporting the Games’ sustainability strategy
  • Volunteers became the “face of the games”, receiving worldwide recognition
TAFE Queensland Logo


Headquartered in Brisbane, TAFE Queensland is the state’s largest, and one of Australia’s largest, training providers. It delivers practical, industry-relevant training to more than 120,000 students annually across 50 locations.

The Challenge


On arrival at a Commonwealth Games event, the first sight that greets spectators is often the multitudes of volunteers. The volunteer workforce is instrumental in ensuring the tournament runs smoothly, pointing attendees in the right direction with a friendly and approachable demeanor.

Transforming 15,000 successful applicants into skilled volunteers is a complex challenge and, to prepare for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, TAFE Queensland was tasked with finding a solution. With more than 200 roles for volunteers to learn across 24 venues, the company decided to provide a unique training program for each volunteer, customised for their responsibilities.

With so much information to deliver to so many volunteers, TAFE Queensland looked to create remotely accessible learning resources so that team members could learn whenever and wherever suited them best.

"The solution put in place set a new benchmark in workforce training for major sports events. The blended learning approach and content-rich interactive modules were impressive […] I have not seen such a holistic approach to learning in the event environment."

Kerrie Nash, Event Knowledge Services, TAFE Queensland

The Solution


To tackle such a challenging project, TAFE Queensland leveraged its state-of-the-art learning platform, D2L’s Brightspace. The company has relied on D2L solutions for several years with great success.

TAFE Queensland designed a training program that focused on five key learning points for aspiring volunteers: train the trainer, role-specific training, event leadership training, venue-specific training, and orientation attendance. The company developed these learning points by using D2L’s platform to include teaching resources supporting accessibility, inclusiveness, sustainability, and a multitude of other components, helping volunteers deeply understand the spirit of the Games.

TAFE Queensland also worked directly with the CG2018 workforce team to deliver official online training packages from the same environment, featuring documents and workbooks to explain each volunteer’s unique responsibilities.

Male Talking to Group, TAFE Queensland


Training 15,000 volunteers in person would be impractical, so TAFE Queensland needed to empower learners to do as much of their training as possible online. Adopting D2L’s Daylight, an innovative new user interface that complements the Brightspace learning platform, was a key enabler for this strategy.

Daylight’s simplicity and ease of use helped trainers seamlessly upload new content for volunteers to download and engage with on any device. TAFE Queensland even customised the flexible Daylight interface to replicate the look and feel of the official CG2018 website, ensuring that the user experience was on-brand and helping the volunteers feel that they were truly part of the event.

"Training was awesome and easy to follow on the online volunteer
portal. The knowledge I’ve gained will last a lifetime."

AnnMarie Kavanagh, Volunteer

The Results


Leveraging the Brightspace platform, TAFE Queensland created 200 documents supported by over 100 webpages and activities, 10 animations, and 26 videos. Volunteers achieved an overall completion rate of 80 percent for the training program, significantly higher than any learning solution deployed for previous Games.

Kerrie Nash, event knowledge services, TAFE Queensland, says, “The solution put in place set a new benchmark in workforce training for major sports events. The blended learning approach and content-rich interactive modules were impressive […] I have not seen such a holistic approach to learning in the event environment.”

The customised content, combined with first-class support for mobile access, enabled learners to engage with the resources on offer, and devote more time to training—they could learn from anywhere.

Volunteer AnnMarie Kavanagh explains, “Training was awesome and easy to follow on the online volunteer portal. The knowledge I’ve gained will last a lifetime.” Sian Woods, another GC2018 volunteer, adds: “My volunteer training at TAFE Queensland allowed me to be the greatest volunteer I could be, learning life skills that I can take with me in future job opportunities.”


As an added bonus, delivering the entire program through D2L’s learning platform enabled a completely paperless training program—the first time this had ever been achieved at the Games. By removing the need for printed workbooks, more than 1.8 million pieces of paper were saved. This aligned perfectly with the Games’ commitment to sustainability, which was strongly supported by GC2018 volunteers, educators, and administrators.


GC2018 spectator services team received worldwide recognition for contributing to the success of the tournament, and the training program was integral in equipping them with the knowledge and skills to achieve this. Providing relevant, enjoyable, and accessible content through the platform led to a highly informed and disciplined volunteer service, who were fully in tune with the goals of the event.

TAFE Queensland won two awards due to their achievements in providing vocational education and training design and delivery services to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games—specifically the 2018 Australian Business Awards for Service Excellence and the Best Achievement in Event Education and Training at the 2018 Australian Event Awards.

Welcoming volunteers embodied the inclusive spirit of the Commonwealth Games, and TAFE Queensland built this inclusive atmosphere with D2L support. Volunteer teams exceeded all expectations, ensuring the long partnership between TAFE Queensland and D2L will continue, guaranteeing the legacy of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

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Fueling up:

Upskilling to grow careers

Name: Zaria
Age: 27

Policy prescriptions: Invest in a Learning-Integrated Life; Transform the learning of today with new partnerships; Accelerate the shift to skills-based learning and hiring

Zaria has five years of work experience and is ready to change jobs and enter a field that has high growth potential in her region. The national government has been investing in collecting better skills-based labour market information for years and has developed a public platform to offer individuals specialized tools to assess their skills against current market needs, and to locate employers that are currently hiring.

On the employer side, the human resources team is closely examining a recent internal skills audit done at their organization and determines that the organization needs additional digital marketing specialists. They initiate a search for individuals with the skills they will soon need and spot a strong candidate in Zaria who requires only light training on regulatory issues regarding the sale of electric vehicles, along with some formal skills development courses on social media marketing strategy. After a successful interview, Zaria is offered the job.

Upon joining, Zaria will receive an educational benefits stipend from the company, and access to a company-provided platform of curated programs for skills building from approved providers. Upon completion of a set of courses, Zaria will receive a credential from a company approved program verifying her technical knowledge and marking the end of her probationary period at the company. To ensure she continues to build her skills, she will move into a formal mentor program with one of her colleagues to receive continual peer-to-peer feedback on her demonstration of skills and knowledge. information

This affordable and accessible learning through employer-funded training has enabled Zaria to begin working while also upskilling to ensure her long-term success in the company and growing industry. The employer is investing in its employees, and company leaders are thinking further into the future about the skills the company needs, and the types of job candidates who will succeed. This match, based on skills potential, was made possible because of government investment in high-quality labour market information and a national platform that matches job candidates with career opportunities based on the candidates’ skills and the identified skill needs of a given job.

Taking the road less travelled:

A networked postsecondary education

Name: Sam
Age: 18

Policy prescriptions: Transform the learning of today with new partnerships

Sam is a prospective postsecondary student who has always been interested in pursuing a global and interdisciplinary education. Sam’s siblings have all instilled in her the importance of studying abroad, having spoken fondly of their academic exchange semesters, field research trips, and intensive language immersion programs. She is inspired, but unsure whether this pathway will be available if she chooses not to complete a four-year degree at one institution.

Sam is interested in understanding how emerging technologies can be used to modernize and improve government services—an area in need of talent not only in her home country of Canada but also abroad. She could take on a general political science, public administration, engineering, or computer science degree at the university close to her home, but none of those degrees feels like the right fit to build the skills she needs to pursue this career interest.

While researching options, Sam learns of a new degree completion pathway that allows students to take courses from a network of universities, colleges, and polytechnic institutions throughout Canada and stack them for skills-based  credentials that are recognized by major Canadian employers. A set of four of these credentials grants an individual a degree-equivalent endorsed by each institution. Sam identifies the skills and knowledge she wants to work towards and charts out four credential pathways:

  1. Service delivery design
  2. Change management
  3. Applications of emerging technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence)
  4. Machinery of government

With this customized learning pathway, Sam has full flexibility to decide how she wants to structure her courses, the institutions within the network she will study at, and the format and model of courses she prefers—whether live in-class instruction or online courses.

Cost flexibility is built in as well—students pay a standard fee based on the number of competencies they intend to learn rather than the normal standard of ‘credit hours’. The province in which Sam lives has endorsed this networked model of  postsecondary education and adjusted its financial assistance program to better support students. Grants and other non-repayable assistance take into consideration the number of courses the student is taking across all institutions when assessing financial need. Previously, Sam would have been required to be a full-time student at every institution to receive support.

Sam also has the option of starting with foundational courses or applying for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) information so her existing knowledge and skills can be tested and she can move on to more advanced topics.

Sam completes her first three credentials in three years and uses her certifications to apply for a one-year work-integrated learning experience with the federal government in Germany where she can learn first-hand about the applications of artificial intelligence in government. When she returns home, she applies for PLAR to certify her learning on the machinery of government and is granted a degree acknowledging her four-part customized education.

The collaboration between universities, polytechnics, and colleges to create a networked approach to degree completion, and its endorsement by the provincial government, allowed Sam to graduate as an alumnus of multiple postsecondary education institutions. Her exposure to different thought spaces and networks was highly valuable for ensuring she was engaged throughout her education and set up for post-graduation success. In the rapidly evolving field she has chosen, she understands how important it is to continuously upskill, and is prepared to return to formal education for more stackable credentials as she continues throughout her career.

Route guidance:

Personalized professional development

Name: ZheYuan
Age: 33

Policy prescriptions: Prepare teachers for their own lifelong learning journeys; Accelerate the shift to skills-based learning and hiring

ZheYuan is about to join Marama’s school as a new secondary school teacher. He completed his professional teacher education a decade ago, and teaching looks a bit different today than it did when he was studying. With the incorporation of learning technologies in the classroom, and expectations of teachers delivering competency-based education information, he needs personalized professional development to feel comfortable and supported in this new opportunity.

The school district has been on its own learning journey since shifting to a competency-based education model, and has had some growing pains. Over time, the district has come to recognize that success depends on school administrators working closely with teachers to co-create systems of instruction, and pathways to professional development. The district has its own online learning management system (LMS) for teacher professional development, with a catalogue of content covering a range of subjects including:

  • Strategies for student-centred instruction
  • Design thinking—how to prototype and iterate on solutions to test new approaches
  • Online content—using learning management systems to advance competency-based education
  • Data analysis—interpreting student progress

ZheYuan is excited that he can take on professional learning to suit his needs on his own schedule. He recalls an earlier time when he had to spend nine hours a month in-person taking the same professional development courses as his peers who were teaching very different subjects and had varied skill levels and pedagogical needs than him, which was less than effective.

ZheYuan can also take advantage of his teacher community in the LMS, connecting both in asynchronous chats and in live discussions with other teachers and experts from across his region to ask questions and share his experiences. He sees some upcoming dialogues hosted by his school district to share learnings and signs up for those sessions, knowing he will get a valuable peer perspective from other teachers. ZheYuan is thankful that his school leaders recognize and value professional learning and provide the supports and the time needed for improvement.

D2L Whitepaper Contributors

Lead Authors:
Malika Asthana, Manager, Strategy and Public Affairs
Joe Pickerill, Senior Director, Strategy and Public Affairs, International

Jeremy Auger, Chief Strategy Officer
Mark Schneiderman, Senior Director, Future of Teaching and Learning
Brendan Desetti, Senior Director, Strategy and Public Affairs, United States
Mike Semansky, Senior Director, Strategy and Public Affairs, Canada
Nia Brown, Senior Manager, Strategy and Public Affairs

In the driver’s seat:

Owning the personalized learning journey

Name: Marama
Age: 14

Policy prescriptions: Prepare teachers for their own lifelong learning journeys; Accelerate the shift to skills-based learning and hiring

Marama is enrolled in a school with a competency-based education model information. Students are responsible for owning the personalization of their learning pathways, making choices alongside their teachers in how and when they learn.iii Teachers play a central role in guiding and validating all learning, regardless of where it takes place—offering formative assessments to evaluate a student’s mastery of skills and knowledge. Teachers use data from these assessments, gathered through an online learning management system (LMS), to differentiate instruction and provide targeted supports so that all students progress toward graduation. As a student diagnosed with a learning disability, Marama is supported in her education by this personalized learning pathway.

All students complete an assessment in ninth grade to identify their natural strengths as a learner. Their teachers use the results as inputs to design tailormade educational pathways with learning materials and activities that suit the individual students’ learning needs. In Marama’s case, this includes:

  1. Supplementing lecture-based teaching with structured but independent reading
  2. Shadowing professionals who work on the concepts she is learning about
  3. Taking the stories and lessons she’s learned and sharing it back with classmates by designing a creative and interactive presentation

Over the course of the school year, Marama spends a third of her time in live lectures (sometimes online) with her teacher alongside other classmates—but the rest of her time is spent learning in the ways that suit her best. She can log into her online LMS from her mobile device to access her school resources and complete on her own schedule before the assigned deadline. When Marama finds a concept that interests her, she can ask her teachers and counsellor for support in finding a working professional to speak to, or work alongside for a couple weeks, from the network her school has curated over time. And when she has learned something, she is encouraged to reinforce her learning by applying her skills and developing content to share back with her classmates.

Marama’s personalized learning journey empowers her to own her education by learning in ways that are effective for her, with the support that allows her to be successful. Her teachers have high-quality data about student strengths and performance they can share with her parents to show them how she is mastering specific skills, and where she may need extra support. Her school experience empowers her to embrace her subject interests very early on, and she advances to deeper topics quickly as she submits evidence of learning that demonstrates her proficiency. She graduates having cultivated a mindset for self-directed learning early in her education.