Skills Funding Agency releases long-awaited online learning aim search engine

The Skills Funding Agency has produced its long-awaited and overdue online Learning Aims Reference System (Lars).

It is an online tool that allows providers to, among other things, look up qualification funding values.

And it went live today [click here for Lars] with learning aims data for the current academic year and also 2014/15.

It had been due out for the start of 2013/14 as part of the agency’s wider data collections and funding transformation programme.

A new funding information system (Fis) was also part of the revamp, but it has produced inaccurate reports. And Online Data Collection (OLDC) system replacement the Hub has also had problems.

But in November the agency conceded it was struggling to develop Lars in time for the R04 data return deadline the following month, and instead produced “Lars Lite” — which didn’t contain 2014/15 data.

However, there were reports that Lars Lite, a temporary downloadable database from the SFA, itself produced unreliable data.

The problems could now be over though, with an SFA spokesperson revealing that Lars was now live.

They said: “On Thursday, May 22, we will make a new learning aims search facility available in the Hub.”

They added: “This will replace Lars Lite and the simplified funding rates catalogue, which we will decommission in the coming months.

“We will also release an update to Fis to support the processing of 2014 to 2015 Individualised Learner Record (ILR) files alongside ILR files for 2013 to 2014. A reinstallation is not required.”

Lars helps providers’ Management Information System (MIS) officers check whether qualifications are eligible for funding, and how much per learner providers should receive.

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