|Towards a European quality assurance standard?
Dear Members of the quality workshop,
I would like to welcome you to the second week of the ETB quality workshop.
Many thanks to EUN to provide this opportunity to discuss this controversial
topic. I am looking forward to having a fruitful discussion in the next
The goal of this workshop is to identify trends in quality assurance
related to e-learning and to determine appropriate standards. The discussion
should foucs on different perspectives on quality approaches, including
learners, managers, teachers, authors, and content providers in order
to find a common understanding of quality needs and requirements.
In a study
from 1998 for the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
the following questions were identified as the main issues for research
in quality assurance for distance education, particularly for e-learning:
1. What are the existing or emerging strategies for quality assurance
of technology-mediated distance learning programs?
2. How can the educational outcomes and experiences offered by
these programs and institutions be measured?
3. What specific policies and procedures are required for providing
quality assurance of technology-mediated distance learning?
This virtual forum should try to answer some of these questions and give
the opportunity to share experiences in this field. But first of all,
some background on quality assurance approaches. Quality standards in
general can be divided into process and product oriented standards.
- Process oriented approaches focus on the transparency and consistency
of processes leading to a product or service. An example is ISO 9000:2000,
ensuring the consisitency of generic processes. Another example is the
use of Lifecycle models and procedural models.
- Product oriented standards ensure the quality of the result
of these processes. Usually a the quality of a product is measured using
certain criteria, checklists, or similar mechanisms.
- Additionaly, some approaches define competencies for actors. These
approaches assume that approapriately skilled actors lead to results
of appropriate quality.
The following questions should be a guideline for the discussion:
1. Can there be a common quality standard for learning environments
in the future?
This topic is highly related to the first part of the discussion. Is it
possible to define a generic e-learning standard, independent of the domain
or a certain community? Will there be specific standards set by communities?
What are the requirements for such a standard?
2. Secondly,which are the emerging strategies and related procedures
for quality assurance in the field of e-learning?
Should organizations focus on product-oriented, process-oriented, or competency-oriented
standards? Which are best-practice cases of quality assurance for e-learning?
3. Thirdly, which areas should be covered by an E-Learning quality
Should an e-learning quality standard cover all areas of learning, including
adminstration, delivery, security, ...? Should a standard focus on the
appropriate use of technologies? Should didactic concepts be considered?