Quality Indicators For Professional Education

Menon, Mohan
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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

Workshop on Performance Indicators for Quality Assurance in Distance Higher Education, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 14-16 August 2007, Quality Indicators for Professional Education By Professor Mohan Menon, Commonwealth of Learning // Quality of courses and programmes in professional education is critical to the performance of the products in the real work situations. Any quality indicators or performance measures in higher education should accommodate the variety of prgrammes in the sector and the QA frameworks should be able to differentiate between the requirements of a knowledge-based programme in higher education from that of professional courses. The quality of a lawyer or a teacher or a doctor in one's real professional role will depend on the required knowledge in relevant areas as well as the competencies he or she possesses to be an effective practitioner. The training environment in a professional programme should be such that the transactional processes involved in the training situations should facilitate the professional to develop better insights into the work situation and practices. The training experiences gained in the pre-service and in-service professional development programmes viz. medicine or engineering should be able to prepare them for dealing with the complex realities obtained in the medical or engineering profession. // While the processes involved in the curriculum transaction are core to any educational experience, indicators of quality in professional higher education tends to focus attention on organisational and administrative processes and the organisation of mode related learning components such as course development and learner support. Naidu (2004) emphasizing this point in the context of teacher education says that 'at times when there is some attention being paid to learning and teaching, the emphasis is on the quality of the teachers, their training, and on the support that they might be receiving. The quality of the learning experience is seen to have been assured with qualified personnel'. This is not essentially true as the presence of required number of health educators need not always ensure effectiveness of a health education programme by ODL if the course materials are developed with only mechanically following an ID template as well as adequate opportunity for learner support, without ensuring the manifestation of the required transactional (pedagogical) processes. // Koul (2006) does give some emphasis to the learning design aspect. He identified ten factors grouped into three dimensions to contribute to quality assurance in ODL. The core dimension includes two factors viz. one, course materials, instructional design, teaching-learning including evaluation practices and learner support services and two, learner centricity of support services, and research and capacity building. While there are several factors under the 'systems' and 'resources' (Koul, 2006), the core dimension is critical to the effectiveness of any course. I consider the following four quality indicators within the 'core dimension' of a professional education programme/institution most critical to its quality. Design of Learning Learner-centredness Reflective Practice Dialogue in instruction

Quality Assurance,Teacher Education,Distance Education
Sri Lanka