A B-LEARNING POSTGRADUATE COURSE IN ADVANCED COSMETOLOGY OF ULISBOA: THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY EVALUATION FRAMEWORKS FOR THE SUCCESS OF ONLINE COURSES
The Faculty of Pharmacy (FFULisboa) in collaboration with the e-Learning Lab, both from University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal (ULisboa) developed, in recent years, a Postgraduate course in Advanced Cosmetology at a blended learning format. The main goal of this course is training specialists in cosmetic products subject. This course is preferably addressed to professionals working in cosmetology and dermatology companies, but other related professionals and students were accepted.
This course has been presented in three editions: the first one occurred in 2016 with 49 trainees and 54 hours, the second edition was in 2017 with 56 trainees with 80 hours and the third edition in May-July 2018 with the participation of 58 trainees for 35 hours. This last edition was special because it focused fundamentally in the Cosmetic Products Regulation.
Changes have been made throughout the 3 editions, in order to improve the scientific quality and for updating contents, derived from the evaluation process to the course according to the ECBCheck benchmark. Nevertheless, all editions presented the same three components based structure: theoretical, practical and laboratory.
The course was carried out according to the blended-learning regime in which the theoretical-practical component is supported by the Learning Management System (LMS) platform of ULisboa and the laboratorial component carried out face-to-face, in a intensive approach, at the FFULisboa laboratory at the end of the course.
The online platform allows the use of dynamic and integrative digital tools and, for this reason, it can be used as a privileged efficient communication path between trainees-teachers, teachers-trainees and trainees-content.
Thus, the teaching strategies were based on three essential pillars:
a) adaptation of the participants to the course through ‘ice-breaking’ activities, that aimed to integrate trainees into the learning community as well as to familiarize them with the communication tools (forums) used during the course;
b) construction and evaluation of theoretical, practical and laboratory knowledge - in which the objectives and competences to be acquired and /or to be developed were defined; videos related to all themes accompanied by supporting documents and other documents considered relevant by the teaching team. The knowledge acquired was applied and evaluated through quizzes with automatic feedback, integrating the scientific explanation and additional documents that allowed the trainees to better understand the correct solution and to deepen the theme in question.
c) interaction among participants - conducted through open discussion forums created for each of the modules.
At the end of each edition, a satisfaction assessment questionnaire was applied, and all activities were evaluated according to the evaluation framework ECBCheck (e-Learning in Capacity Building Check). This framework aims to analyse the quality of online courses in several dimensions, such as
(i) information about the programme;
(ii) target group orientation;
(iii) quality of the content;
(iv) programme/course design;
(v) media design;
(vi) technology; and
(vii) evaluation & review.
Thus, the aim of this article is to present a comparative study of the level of students’ satisfaction with the quality of the course in its three editions and to emphasize the importance of using quality evaluation frameworks to assess the success of fully or partially online courses.