Programme Design for Online Learning Environment Stories from Designing and Developing the New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care Level 4 Programme


  • Nhung Nguyen Auckland University of Technology
  • Liz Everiss Education Consultant
  • Sonja Rosewarne Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
  • Kalina Vladinova-Aylor Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
  • Johanna G. Ippel Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
  • Melanie Boyd Open Polytechnic of New Zealand



Education, Distance Education, Online Learning, flexible learning, early childhood education, programme design, learning design


The New Zealand Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care Level 4 programme was designed and developed in the context of a Level 4 early childhood education qualification becoming a requirement for educators in home-based sector, and the Open Polytechnic transformation. The programme is delivered fully online. This paper is to share our stories of designing and developing the programme. The stories focus on pedagogy that empowers learners in an online flexible distance learning environment, our innovative of team work, and initial feedback from stakeholders. The pedagogy is underpinned by the integration of sociocultural and constructivist theories with information communication technology (ICT), specified by the CSI Model (The Pedagogic Model of Integrating Constructivist and Sociocultural Learning Principles with Information Communication Technology), the key educational design principles and the assessment approach. Based on the pedagogy, the programme was created in two phases: Design and development. The work of the first phase was on designing at a programme level while the work of the second phase was on developing the three courses of the programme. With the pedagogy and innovative team work, initial feedback from stakeholders was very positive. It is recommended that feedback from stakeholders is formally collected later this year and in the new year.

Author Biographies

Nhung Nguyen, Auckland University of Technology

Dr Nhung Nguyen is a lecturer – learning and teaching consultant at Auckland University of Technology. Her teaching and research focus is on science education, technology-enhanced learning, learning design, online teaching, assessment, and curriculum design. She uses both quantitative and qualitative approaches, and values international and domestic collaboration in her research.

Liz Everiss, Education Consultant

Liz Everiss is an education consultant. Her Master’s degree (Master of Arts, Distinction) is in education. At the time of this project, she was Principal Curriculum Designer, Education and previously Head of School, Education at Open Polytechnic. These roles included responsibility for certificate and degree level education programmes. Her research interests are in early childhood, teacher education and assessment.

Sonja Rosewarne, Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Sonja Rosewarne is a senior academic staff member at Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. She has a Master’s degree in Education and is course leader of the Level 3 and Level 4 Early Childhood Education Certificate programmes, which are delivered online through the Open Polytechnic iQualify learning platform. She has been involved in the design and development of two Level 3 and two Level 4 certificate programmes in recent years.

Kalina Vladinova-Aylor, Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Kalina Vladinova-Aylor is a project manager at Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. She has a Master’s degree and manages and coordinates the development of educational programmes, assessments, and courseware.

Johanna G. Ippel, Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Hanlie Ippel is a learning designer currently employed by Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. She has degrees in archaeology, information science, and library & information studies, and an MIS. She has many years’ experience in e-learning, online learning, and blended learning development. Her experience was gained locally and internationally.

Melanie Boyd, Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Mel Boyd is an academic staff member at Open Polytechnic, where she teaches digital literacy, communication for learning, and social and health studies. She holds qualifications in adult teaching, adult literacy and numeracy, and e-learning and digital technologies and has taught in fields that include business administration, communication, and foundation and bridging learning. In recent years, her role as an educational designer has enabled her to delve into her passion for writing and designing technology-enabled courses and programmes.