Practitioners in teaching and learning are self-critical by nature. Most L&D departments will reflect on the success of their training programmes, engaging in course evaluations and a self-assessment process but only the best departments can effectively make use of this reflection to create a quality improvement strategy.
The increase in the use of learning technology and online learning has meant that L&D professionals have a whole new strand to evaluate. As a result, many find their existing quality management systems failing to fully address the use of edtech and digital delivery.
So, how do you improve the self-assessment process in today’s tech enabled L&D departments?
A great deal of work has been done both in industry and the education sector to help practitioners evaluate their blended or wholly online courses and improve the self-assessment process. Here are a few to check out:
1. Towards Maturity
The strength of the Towards Maturity tool is its provision of benchmarking data for your organisation, as you review your tech enabled L&D strategy against the best practice of your peers. You can still take part in this year's benchmarking survey as the deadline for inclusion has been extended until 19th August 2014. Towards Maturity claim that their data “equips L&D leaders with all the evidence they need to modernise learning provision to suit a fast paced, technology enabled global economy”.
2. Quality Matters
As well as a structured approach to reviewing learning materials, Quality Matters provide benchmarking for online learning through peer assessment. They are based in the United States but it is well worth checking out their Rubric, available here as a PDF. The themes and questions are relevant for any L&D professional needing to evaluate course delivery and content.
This self-assessment tool was developed in the further education sector by JISC and the Learning and Skills Improvement Service and is intended to support in the planning and evaluation of the contribution eLearning makes to teaching, learning and assessment. Its developers claim that “it has been designed for use by any learning organisation, not just colleges or larger providers”.
4. NAACE Self Review Framework
The self-review framework provides a structured framework for reviewing an organisation's use of educational technology. It is intended for schools to use but the approach could be adapted for large L&D departments.
Work is ongoing in the private L&D and education and training sectors. A new educational technology self-assessment tool is currently in development for the Education and Training Foundation.
Creating a Quality Improvement Action Plan
The data generated through self-assessment is only really useful if you use it to improve the quality of the L&D experience for your learners. Some L&D departments will use this to justify spending or as evidence of efficiency but they are missing a trick. It is an opportunity to reflect on success and set targets for improving the quality of the L&D process for the workforce. Use the data to select areas for improvement and to better address the needs of the learners. Identify costly mistakes and build on what works.
If you would like advice on evaluating the quality of your organisation's online learning or developing a quality improvement strategy, please contact us.
Catherine Sellars, Editor
Supporting innovation in teaching and learning
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