National quality criteria for online education – new preliminary study now available

One of the objectives of the Digivisio 2030 project is to support teachers in developing e-learning and paving the way for the future of learning.

In a recent preliminary study, Jaana Koskela from the Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences and Linda Mannila from Åbo Akademi surveyed current research on the quality of online education and quality criteria used both nationally and internationally. The preliminary study makes a proposal for the creation of national quality criteria for online education.

Quality in online education stems from a student-centered approach

The preliminary study discusses topical international research on the quality of online education from four perspectives: the student, the teacher, the course, and the organisation. Research conducted in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic places particular emphasis on online, blended and hybrid forms of education. The study notes that important perspectives in quality development include student-centeredness, accessibility, and the role of the teacher.

The preliminary study also surveys national and international criteria used to assess the quality of online education. From Finnish criteria, the study includes eAMK, Recommendations on open education, and Criteria for online material by the National Agency for Education. The international criteria included are EADTU E-xcellence, DigCompOrg and DigCompEdu as well as EOCCS: Online Course Certification System.

Improving quality through national quality criteria for online education

According to the preliminary study, certain prerequisites should be taken into account when planning national quality criteria for online education. The first one is involving teachers and possibly students in the development of the national criteria. Commitment to the criteria can also be promoted through user-friendliness, training and support in their use, and organisations creating an obligation to use the criteria. Attention should be paid to the usability and technical implementation of the criteria so that their use becomes an integral part of the teacher’s work.

According to the preliminary study, it is important that the quality criteria are based on scientific research and that they are updated regularly. Other national and international criteria should also be utilised in preparing the national quality criteria.

Read a summary of the preliminary study: download the document (in English).

The results of the preliminary study will be used in the development of national quality criteria in collaboration with institutions of higher education. The aim is to extend the quality criteria to cover micro-credentials, modules, open education, and MOOCs. E-learning expert Satu Hakanurmi will lead further development of the study in collaboration with institutions of higher education from October 2022 onwards.

Read the report on quality criteria: download the report (in English).

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Expert Satu Hakanurmi