Issue 1
Monday, 01 March 2021
Charles Darwin University
CDU student Dikul Baker has recorded instructional videos about online learning in Yolngu Matha and English
CDU student Dikul Baker has recorded instructional videos about online learning in Yolngu Matha and English

Indigenous language materials support online learning

By Carl Pfeiffer

Charles Darwin University has enhanced its reputation as a pioneer in Indigenous education by making online learning more accessible through the development of Indigenous language materials. 

Researchers at CDU’s Northern Institute have produced video resources in Yolngu Matha to support speakers of those languages to access online learning materials.

Plans are in place for more languages to follow, with the aim to make learning easier for Indigenous students living in regional and remote areas.

CDU student Dikul Baker, from Galiwinku, has worked with CDU staff to make the university’s online learning tool, Learnline, more accessible to Indigenous students. 

In the videos, she demonstrates how to use the platform and the various support services available for remote learners in English and in her own Djambarrpuynu language, which is understood by most Yolngu.

“I’m a student here and a way to improve things for other students in the future is to make the learning materials available in their own language,” Ms Baker said. 

“So we’ve been working to create resources and learning materials in Yolngu language. 

“I call it ‘Yolngu-ising’ the university, we’re giving a Yolngu flavour to CDU.”

Plans are underway to have support materials translated into other Indigenous languages including Kriol and Warlpiri.

CDU Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Project Leader Alicia Boyle said she believed the project was the first time in Australia that support materials for online learning had been made available in an Indigenous language.  

“University course content is in English, so having good support materials is vital to assist learners from Indigenous language backgrounds access that material,” she said.

“We are hopeful this continues to make CDU one of the go-to universities in the country for Indigenous learners.”

Ms Baker said she hoped the project would encourage other students from her community to learn at CDU. 

“Having access to support material in their own language will make things easier to understand and help Indigenous students to learn,” she said.

“This will enhance their connection to the university and will attract more Yolngu students in the future.” 

The materials are available online at