In 2020 the world was rocked by a massive change of uncertainty and this initiated a wave change and interest in eLearning, specifically for training institutions who are no longer able to continue with business as normal.
The QCTO already have eLearning guidelines on their website, but they published an updated summary of the guidelines during the national state of disaster. http://www.qcto.org.za/images/procedures/Summary_of_E-Learning_and_E-Assessment_Guidelines_for_the_OQSF.pdf
There are 12 eLearning standards, in part 1 of this article, we are going to take a look at the first 6 standards.
eLearning standard 1: Vision and mission
“Have a clear vision and mission that reflects your academic commitments, the needs of your learners, and of society.”
This standard is asking that you, as a skills development provider, incorporate eLearning into the core of your organisation. It should not be an afterthought, but a core of your everyday work. You need to have the systems, the procedures, the team of professionals to incorporate eLearning into your strategy.
eLearning standard 2: Planning
‘Sufficient planning of your eLearning takes place before your learners are registered. This speaks again to the need for eLearning to be a fundamental part of your strategy and requires that eLearning options and programmes are planned for learners at the point of registration.”
As an eLearning professional, I would add that this leans heavily towards the quality of your learning management system, the instructional design of your programmes and the onboarding support you offer your learners.
eLearning standard 3: Processes
“Your institution needs to have a clear process of internal programme management to ensure programme quality.”
Besides a formal process being in place, some of the other key features we rely on are the quality of instructional design of the programme, the quality of your digital design elements course design, a robust learner communication plan, and constant feedback loops to learners.
eLearning standard 4: Quality programmes
“Programmes are designed to meet the needs of learners and stakeholders, and to encourage access to quality education, assessment methods, effectively assess and measure learners’ achievements of the stated learning outcomes of the programme”
As I mentioned before, this speaks heavily to the quality of your learning management system, the instructional design of your programme, and the quality of the digital assets. This is probably the point where a good service provider will save you time and money and assist in providing the best quality programme for your learner.
eLearning standard 5: Training for your team
“You need to offer appropriate development support that equips your personnel to perform their tasks effectively.”
This includes your facilitators and lecturers, admin staff, and technical support staff. They need to be trained in your procedures as well as the online systems that you use.
When you partner with our organisation for an eLearning system, we build the training course into your LMS so that you can refer back to it at any time, or use the training again when you add new members to your team.
eLearning standard 6: Learner support
“Learners should be supported by the provision of a wide range of opportunities for tutoring at a distance through the use of various forms of technology. Contact during tutoring, e-tutoring, assignment tutoring, mentoring, counselling, and the simulation of peer support structures.”
After you have properly planned and designed your programme, do you have the support in place to guide your learners through this new form of learning? We have an article “how to support your learners” which will give you some more information. I can tell you from years of experience, that this is ultimately the “make or break” point of programme.
There are many research papers and articles that show that attrition rates of a programme relate fundamentally to the learner experience and support they receive during the programme.
So, let us recap the first 6 eLearning standards:
1. Have a vision and mission
3. Implement processes
4. Develop quality programmes
5. Train your team
6. Support your learners