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Y. Blieck1, I. Ooghe2, C. Zhu1, K. De Pryck1, H. Van Laer1

1Vrije Universiteit Brussel (BELGIUM)
2CVO De Oranjerie (BELGIUM)
The context of learning has experienced a change. Different types of online and blended learning (OBL) emerged. In Higher Education (HE) quality frameworks for quality assurance and improvement (QA&I) of OBL emerged worldwide. While currently omnipresent in HE, OBL is emerging in Adult Education (AE) in Flanders (Belgium). It is not known if current QA&I approaches in this context are suited for OBL?

In search for an answer explorative (focusgroup)interviews (n=12 groups) were conducted in 5 centers for AE. Participants were interviewed about current approaches and experiences with QA&I for OBL. In each center one interview was conducted with policy makers and quality assurance coördinators (n=17) on. And at least one interview with professionals (n=20) working at the program level.

The central research questions in this study are:
1. What are current approaches for QA&I of OBL programmes/courses offered in AE?
2. Which succes factors can we identify as critical factors for OBL in AE?

While an approach for QA&I was implemented in each center respondents claim that it is not suited for OBL. To contextualize their approach centers are compelled to turn to what is available in HE. But can these practices be transferred to AE? Centers operate in a different context and cater to a wide range of audiences (participants in basic education, second chance to learn, courses at level 5 of the European Qualification Framework and teacher training).

A comparison of quality frameworks for OBL in HE reveals a high level of correspondence (Ossiannilsson & Landgren, 2012). These researchers compared the output of international benchmarking projects, the e-learning quality model (NAHE, 2008) and analyzed literature from that. A framework for quality in e-learning emerged. And contains a range of critical (pedagogical) success factors: participation, personalization, productivity (McLoughlin & Lee, 2008) and accessibility, transparency, flexibility and interactiveness. All should be embedded in management, services (Student and staff support) and products (Curriculum design, course design and course delivery).

The objective is to determine if the same critical success factors apply to AE. Pre-defined codes have been made based on the framework of Ossiannilsson and Landgren (2012) to analyse the interviews. However, open and free coding is also applied in order to define whether other factors can be identified.

We expect that similar success factors for OBL apply in AE as in HE. If this is the case the work of Ossiannilsson and Landgren (2012) could be used to contextualize currently implemented quality approaches in AE.

[1] McLoughlin, C., & Lee, M. J. (2008). The Three P’s of Pedagogy for the Networked Society: Personalization, Participation, and Productivity. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 20(1), 10–27.
[2] NAHE. (2008). E-learning quality (ELQ). Aspects and criteria for evaluation of e-learning in higher education.
[3] Ossiannilsson, E., & Landgren, L. (2012). Quality in e-learning – a conceptual framework based on experiences from three international benchmarking projects. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(1), 42–51.