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Ulf Daniel Ehlers Vice President of the European Foundation for Quality Elearning
Share thoughts and challenges from similar and different perspectives
Hope during the conference discuss more
Apologize that I’m not speaking Spanish. I am aware of the constraints of translations. Second apology that the slides are not translated. We will find our way through it.
Give best and warmest regards from my colleagues who allowed me to come here and share with you some of the discussion we have had.
Talk about elearning quality in higher education and to add on to what has been said by Minister White – what she said before her presentation.
Quality enables higher ed institutions and actors to develop together with their students, competencies and skills they need for life, to participate as active citizen. What I can share from our European network, this is where we share goals in the perspective we take when we look at what is higher ed. What do we want to make of it. What is quality.
I will start with a question and you have to respond. What do you think this picture is? Fungus…hit the nail. This is indeed a fungus. What Dr. Alexander Fleming found after a weekend in 1922. He was upset. He had set up a beautiful experiment which was to be working by itself and he came back and found this fungus. He said, hm, wanted to throw it away. Obviously there is dirt. Fungus. Mushroom. Then he saw in the middle part something different. A yellow substance and not the greenish color but more white. That’s interesting. And he took this fungus and examined it. What he found out is, this is penicillium – discovered.
We have a word for that in science. Serendipity. You discover something which you did not look for. Lots of discoveries have been made by scientist doing an experiment and discovering something different. The question is this pure chance, or does it also involve a prepared mind? Does it involve students, scientist, researchers scientists who are open for that. Reflective in what they do. Not taking everything for granted and categorize it. But to take a second look. They are curious. They have a spirit for discovery. From the European perspective, this is what we want our students to be when they come out of our universities: reflective practitioners. We want them to be able to discover pencillium.
Looking from this perspective, on the topic of quality, how can quality management, standards, how can they contribute to shape our university systems in a way that they allow students to become reflective practitioners, to become discoverer. This is our startin point, linking quality and innovation. This is the path I’d like to walk with you today. Quality has the objective, the aim, to link innovation with education. The aim of quality development in institutions should be to look into the process of invocation. How good can we innovate through quality management in …
UNESCO knowledge acquisition and sharing will be increasing be technologically mediated. From knowledge acquisition to key competence development in the process we have to make, the change we have to make in the university. Not to only transmit knowledge, but competencies which enable them in an uncertain future with problems we cannot prepare them to deal with, to solve them and find new solution. Thirdly, learners in the future they will be very much in the center of attention. Learners will create, validate, disseminate content and teachers will be facilitators, who are the masters today speaking to you, these teachers will be facilitators and coaches. Who of you is teaching at a university (many hands – about half). You will be facilitating, not just carrying knowledge.
Elearning, thus will change the faces of higher education. Today, elearning is looking a lot like the upper part of this slide. LMS, materials online, transmissive learning. Information/presentation. Transmissive learning following the philosophy that the expert is the teacher about the student should learn. Learn by rote.
Elearning will change, put the learning in the drivers seat. Will change this way of education from a distribution model to a collaboration and reflection model. It is more about communication…than information. Projects shared in weblogs and wikis with students and others, experts, external. Teachers will facilitate this process. This is what we are facing. Changing fundamentally when we introduce elearning into organizations
Change between 2 different worlds. Schulmeister 2005 – elearning can be seen in two ways. You can work with standard content, or you can also not give standard contents like books, but let the students develop their own problems. Have them searching their own materials. Write their own texts. Not fixed content or curriculum. On the other hand we have the individual learner and learning communities. Difference between students learning with pre-formed knowledge or working together in knowledge communities. (See slide picture of quad with green and yellow ovals.
This involves different degrees of innovation in the university. To use technology in an innovative way. Maybe up to this web2.0 using wikis for elearning and weblogs, and social software.
We must change our pedagogy.
Quality through elearning and quality for elearning. It is about changing technology, communication, collaboration about pedagogy. We have a long way to go on that path to change.
Who is using Google – many hands raised. Which version of Google are you using? Tricky question. Google has no version. It is in perpetual beta. They are not making releases. They say they are working on a philosophy of continuous improvement. The customer is continuously co-contributing to the quality of the service. Every time you enter a search, you help improve the search algorithm. Interesting concept and tied to my earlier concept of innovation and higher education. We would like to find quality approaches, strategies which are not looking into maintaining the current status, but which are looking into changing pedagogy, changing the use of technology. Innovating. Like Google has a perpetual beta state – always trying to improve. We should adapt the same philosophy. To adapt to new needs of students, research our collaborations.
When we look at quality from a more systematic point of view, we see this notion of co-production is an inherent characteristic of quality education. It cannot be predefined by a teacher. Can’t try to transmit pat to the student. Education requires that the student is the one who is learning. I cannot do learning for my students. They have to co produce the quality with me. I can only make an offer. I can only structure the learning environment. Enable the students in their learning environment to start walking, solving problems, asking questions.
Today in traditional education, when student come to the class we give them the syllabus. We start to teach them point by point. Why don’t we ask, dear student, what is your question. I did that once. The students said they did not have a question. They said, hm. It’s impossible. You cannot learn something with out a question. You have to develop your question. We took three sessions to develop questions. In the end they had a catalog of question. Brilliant you have questions. Now try to find out if students have similar questions. Try and network> Agree on what you want to learn. We want people who can invent penicillin.
For quality I said the problem is that we have a process of co-production. We cannot produce learning for the learner, they have to do it for themselves. That is one of the main differences in to the field of the economy. In economy we have definition that qualities are inherent in the good. Whisky of 20 years stored in wood. Inherent quality. In learning we have co-production.
Quality has special characteristic because is there is not one quality that is right and correct for all actors. It can have different shapes and qualities. Teachers have different intentions and goals than students. A teacher’s philosophy of quality may be different than learners. Have to get into conversation, make need explicit. The university management has different quality philosophies. The government is another one.
How do you find the quality perspective? Through negotiation. Minister White said “our idea we post to the public. We asked 20,000 people responding to what we think education should be. We ask them. At a very high level.
Finally in quality education we not only have different meanings and perspectives, but processes. The position of quality. What are we talking about. The quality of the outcomes of the class? The results? Or the quality of the teacher who is teaching? Two different discussions, words, philosophies. Or are we talking about the learning process in the middle. How the student is interacting with the process’s – there are 2-3 other things, but these three focus points of different processes, actors and meanings you need to take into account when developing a quality strategy. That makes it very diverse. Like in a jungle you can see. You have to find the way to quality. Talk about the perspectives and different goals. Flexibility may be a quality goal to allow student options. Or interoperability, or accessibility, individualization and personalization, availability, media quality, method mix, ergonomics, personality development, strategic impact, learning cultures, flexibility, organization successes tc. Not one golden bullent that strikes all goals. To find your individual quality program.
You can also go to the net – al ot of institutions like my network who are developing quality recommendations for institutions. (SEE LIST) UNIQUE REPORT, July 2007
A broadly accept Quality Assurance and Accreditation system in eLearning within HE is missing.
You have to take Christian’s standards incorporate into your own institution.
New program to develop a new European Quality >>>> for eLearning within HE. 27 countries. Lot of universities and as you can see, it is already a logistical challenge to develop something to fit so many institutional and national context. We just made a screening survey. What we found is that there are some quality guidelines and assurance systems that can be use but none that are broadly accepted (to the side, Christian said this is the problem of the universities!)
Quality methods: self evaluation, teaching reports, quality audit, peer-review, assessment through students, bench-marking, evaluation consortia, accreditation, ranking (pre and ex-post methods). In Germany and in Europe lack experiences and concepts how to bring into the methods they know the new field of ICT. A single individual university might know how to do that. Develop their own quality standards. Another university does something else. No comparability. No broadly accepted standard. We can see the Center for Higher Education Policy in Netherlands study – trend in HE in Europe, from all these methods universities are using,, trend in the direction of broader systems, finding overarching strategies which incorporate some of these within the strategies, what universities know and do already. Quality management. Once strategic approach EFQM Quality Control à Quality Development. Takes into needs of society, learning, teachers, resources, processes… etc. Very comprehensive. We are in the beginning
Moving from quality control to quality development. Not so much interested in just assuring minimum standards, but implement mechanisms which enable us to innovate (Christian says this was done in the 40s!)
If you have the goal of 300,000 teachers who should use elearning. The capacity has to be conveyed to them. Interactive management. Seeing the university as an organic system. Consortium last year of 136 universities which altogether make a 4 year project in 18 different meetings. Discussed what this working in quality for universities for quality in HE in Europe. The interesting thing in the end. Is they came up with something they did not expect. Important to develop a quality culture. Something which has 2 parts. Quality management and Quality commitment.
Quality management – process models, management QM handbooks, instruments and rules. Often top down.
The other element – Quality commitment – competences, attitudes, values, individual and collective. If you are using questionnaires about how well a course is perceived – not enough. You need the commitment to improve. Capacity. Competencies of teachers, trainers, researchers. Certain attitudes and will to improve quality. To talk about values. One of the best quality label in Germany - a lable which in the first step when they come into a HE institution asks the teachers and the learners to sit around table and develop adescription of what is good learning for us. They work out a system of rule and processes for the vision they put up in the beginning. This is about values and qualities of learning. The study said in Europe we are good on the left side, but we have a lot of way to go on the right side (commitment). Quality development enables individual and organization grown by allowing people to develop their competencies and professionalization.
I said I’m coming from an organization, EFQUEL. EU funded three projects on quality from three perspectives. One said quality is pedagogical frameworks. Another said quality means standardization and interoperability. The third said quality has to do with learning regions and cities providing citizens with learning opportunities. These three came together and formed the initial core of the Eur. Foundation for Quality. Quality in elearning demand dialog. Sharing visions of stakeholders. Communication/participation/trust. Not just about reference models but about communication, participation and trust. This is what we want to strengthen in the European model.
Also have a project in Latin America where we try and form the dialog, to bring stakeholders together in workshops to understand the use of ICT in their context, in yur context, in my context and participate in each others experiences.
Have a CoP with 400 embers, a portal in English, a mailing list
We are not providers of a certain approach, but providers of bringing quality approaches together. And have them interacting with each others.
One of our projects is evaluation of quality awards in Europe. All 6, with some common core elements and some differences. What we do as a foundation is not to say you are the best quality but what we do is bring them together and ask them to sit and discuss any common elements. This is in the end how you can get a European or international quality framework. Similar to what Christian described as the consensus process with ISO. Quality demands consensus.
In the end, one of the initiatives to define the quality label for universities who use elearning. UNIQUe. Involves two things: peer review, peers trained ot assess how the university is using elearning. Involves a community building process. Sharing thigns with someone from another university who is also involved in elearning. Share experiences. Form a community in which you can learn from each other. You see already it is not about assessing three criteria, but a learning process. Quality is not just about meeting minimum standards but innovating what we do.
The other element is setting up criteria against the univerity’s elearning sytem. We are not only working on the content, but the learning resources, processes and also would like to find some criteria to assess the institution. Institutional quality mark. A university can obtain it after an accreditation process. Different quality marks at the program level and at the institutional level.
Within the university we look for openness. How good is the university who is offering elearning networked with associations for elearning. Connections with the corporate world, with research networks. It is a sign of quality if you expose what you do to others.
We believe it is important to form a community of peers. Quality means to become one in a network of others, to share knowledge and learn from each other. Benchmarking, Benchlearning and Bench-Acting. Community means to bench learn from each other. To Bench act in a network with others.
First question on data about comparing quality between online and F2F. Answer was need to focus on quality of innovation therefore hard to compare apples to apples.
How to use the tools that students are adopting like Facebook, how to use existing features in LMS in better way. Discussion groups where people can share experiences to make the things worldwide. Our research institution has done many projects, just 1.5 years ago someone asked about using an eportfolio or electronic diary. Like using Facebook in the classroom (half online/half presencial course) We started to work on that. We came across a lot of challenges, even in our institution, the priests of elearning,e ven there it was hard to seamlessless and effectively integrate this new technology. The reason is that it is not primarily a technological challenge. It is a challenge which is primariy a question of pedagogy. Because what we are loking at, we suddenly talked about giving a grade to a student not ony on the basis of assigne work, but also to include the reflections and works which the student put into the diarey we gave to them. Both what we gave to them and what he/she did for him/herself. Both used for grading. How do you grade the description of a learning experience, the development of a learning question. How do you take this real work into account, he wants to be coached, given feedback. It is changing the way we are seeing education, from a distribution mode where the teachers are the transmitters to collabriatioi mode where teachers are the coaches. We have to form, to be aware that we are not alone.
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