Quality Assurance and Instructional Design

Quality Assurance and Instructional Design

Quality assurance is one of the factors of solid course design that is commonly overlooked. . Some courses are built with the best intentions but are not aligned with the program or institution benchmarks. Providing a strong link between the course and these benchmarks enables a student to apply the course material to a broader scope. This is especially true if the student needs to use this content to satisfy an external requirement such as the Bar exam. 

Quality assurance also may include learning-centered design—designing with the student in mind first. Learning-centered design includes simple things such as starting the learning goals, outcomes, or objectives in the first person, “I will be able to…”. This subtle change can create a personalized experience for the student and help create a connection between the course and the student’s independent goals. 

Below are a few key elements to quality assurance, quality assessment, and quality improvement. All are very valuable when creating a course. 

Quality assurance (QA) is a systematic and planned review process of a program based upon standards set by the program or the institution. We recommend these standards be based upon expertise, organizational strategy, scholarship, and learner-centered education. Quality assurance helps determine what students can achieve and provides benchmarks for the students. The program can use these benchmarks to communicate the characteristics and nature of the specific subject. Benchmarks set the general expectations for the students and are the forerunner to quality assessment. 

Quality assessment is outcome-based, detailed evaluation of curricula, evaluation of teaching, and evaluation of the effectiveness and structure of the assessment. The goal is to determine if the program meets a standard of excellence and if it does not provide further insights into improving the program. 

Quality improvement is the expectation used by a program to monitor and improve the quality. These criteria meet a universal set of quality e-learning criteria. Online education should therefore provide:

  •   continuity between practice and purpose
  •   preparation for further study
  •   preparation for external credentialing
  •   personal growth for the learner
  •   professional growth for the learn 
  •   functional, user-friendly interface
  •   adequate resources for learners, instructors, and curriculum 
  •   appropriate assessment opportunity and methods

Learner-centered design (LCD) is focused on making the system easy to use for students. The goal is to create a student experience that removes unnecessary cognitive and physical constraints. One of the aspects of learner-centered or User-centered design (UCD) is making the technology ubiquitous. We want the learner to be working with the content not trying to figure out how to use the learning management system. We also want to ensure when a student is looking at content that the content has been designed with them in mind.  

Portions of this article used content provided by Experiential Learning in Instructional Design and Technology by Joshua Hill and Linda Jordan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.