While having significant expertise as to what constitutes quality education, often leaders of Professional Higher Education Institutions will have never received any formal training in Quality Management and limited expertise in how to translate their mission and vision into a well-functioning Quality Assurance system. Therefore, despite efforts to the contrary, often quality assurance is reduced to a ‘commitment to quality culture’ supported by a bureaucratic and time consuming set of checks.
The QA Lead project aims to address this gap by developing training & resources specifically tailored to supporting institutional leaders in their strategic role towards Quality Assurance.
The project is broadly divided into 5 stages:
Stage 1: Overview of Institutional Leaders’ Views to QA and barriers to proper implementation of QA
This phase, will set the scope of the project by using a survey of institutional leaders, followed by focus groups to identify the problems institutional leaders have with QA processes, the reasons QA processes fail to promote positive change to their full potential, and the elements of these which might be solved through training of institutional leaders.
Stage 2: Creation of a Quality Competence Framework for Institutional Leaders and Associated Learning Outcomes
The competence framework will take the form of a grid mapping required learning outcomes in terms of knowledge, skills, autonomy and responsibility against levels of seniority in management. Authoring will take place via meetings of an expert group, whose results will be validated by a 20-member panel of experts in QA.
Stage 3: Design of Curricular Materials for Institutional Leaders
The methodology for course production will follow a standard ADDIE instructional design model. It will be structured as a set of online micro-learning modules (bite-sized modules), since studies show that this format can strengthen knowledge inputs including process, curriculum, form and time, and that is particularly effective in promoting the acquisition of finely defined competencies. The short format paired with the online availability also makes it easy for senior staff to find time to integrate the learning into their schedules.
Stage 4: Delivery of Training
This will involve the organization of multiplier events aimed at promoting the online training, as well as the organization of an advanced 4-day intensive training event on specific QA techniques and methodologies. The face to face training will make heavy use of simulation techniques to model an institutional environment.
Stage 5: Provision of Model Strategies
So as to allow institutional leaders to quickly implement what they learn in the training, the project will also design a set of model strategies for implementing techniques such as issue management, kaizen, and holistic-course review. The model strategies designed by the consortium will be piloted via dry-testing in a set of HVET institutions before being proposed to leaders in the course, to ensure that they can be efficiently applied in these contexts.
The main intended impact from the project is to change attitudes towards quality assurance from a compliance-focused mindset that focus on the needs of learners, enterprise and society.