An international pre-departure guide, giving high school students an idea of what to expect when studying in Australia, for the Department of Education and Training.


The pre-departure guide is for International Students arriving to study in Australia from overseas, typically 15-18 years old. Recent years have shown that these international students have expectations about living and studying in Australia and are disappointed when these expectations are not realised when they arrive.

The students have expectations around the family they will be staying with, pets they didn’t expect, the Aussie lifestyle, school and of course the realities of going to school and school life here in Australia. As these students and their families have paid for the study in Australia they may be expecting “more” than what they may have been used to in their own countries. Finally they don’t know what they can and cannot bring into Australia, the law here, etc. 


The solution was a Drupal powered e-learning platform with a unique design targeted to young audiences. The attention grabbing interface and friendly, playful design provides a rich experience for overseas students arriving in Australia. Digital Garden worked closely with DEC International to identify users and their expectations, as well as the content that was available. This was coupled with detailed discussions with the DEC IT team to understand technical implications of the registration process.

A strategy was put in place to increase the likelihood of participation. First we implemented a gamification system for gathering points and a prize draw for the students with the best scores. This allowed students to keep track of their progress in the form of points rather than a grade or a percentage score. The architecture was streamlined and simple ensuring slide-by-slide presentation of information and not too much to absorb at once. A single quiz at the end of each section helps students test their knowledge and compete for the high score. Because elevating their knowledge was a higher goal than testing students can re-take the quiz as often as they like to improve their score.


Feedback from staff, students and schools has been overwhelmingly positive. Students are enjoying the interactive experience and learning a lot along the way. While DEC are finding administration and content management to be simple and intuitive, allowing them to run several groups of students through the platform each year.

Engaging students with an interactive experience
makes online learning fun
DEC International online interactive experience
NSW Government DEC Predeparture guide website's language settings
Multilingual functionality

Language options in English, Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese, for international students.

Technologies used 
Industry Sector