1. What is the QACEP Quality Framework?
The QACEP Quality Framework has been designed as a reference guide for Higher Education Institutions designed to assist them in the management of the quality of their continuing education programmes, by fostering the development of a continuous improvement.
The target groups of the QACEP Quality Framework are continuing education programme managers, coordinators, teachers/academics, governing bodies and managers of higher education institutions.
1.2 How is the Framework designed?
The QACEP Quality Framework is built on the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle idea: a problem-solving process to facilitate continuous improvement in organizations. The PDCA concept emphasises that improvement must start with careful planning, lead to effective action, go through monitoring and improvement and re-visit the planning stage again resulting in an improved activity.
Therefore, the Framework is organised into four parts, corresponding to the following phases:
• Planning and design
• Implementation and delivery
• Programme monitoring
• Programme improvement.
For each phase the Framework identifies key elements and features. The key elements presented in the planning and design phase must also be considered for all other phases.
2. Key elements and features of the QACEP Framework
Key elements are the features of Continuing Education Programmes that are crucial for a successful performance and so must be considered by a Quality Assurance System for continuing education programmes.
They have been developed with due consideration to the Standard and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) approved by Ministers for Education in member states who have signed up to the Bologna Process.
The key elements are first planned, then implemented, monitored and finally improved.
The Framework includes both institutional key elements (such as vision and strategic objectives) and programme level key elements (such as educational concept and resources).
In each phase, the key elements are detailed as features that are suggested actions to be implemented in order to improve the quality factors of the Continuing Education Programmes.
3. How to use the QACEP Framework tools?
The goal of the Framework and its associated tools is to assist, in a flexible manner, a diverse range of HEIs in the implementation of a quality improvement approach to the design and delivery of Continuing Education Programmes. For example, at the institutional level, the QACEP Framework can be used to support and guide strategies and choices to be taken by the decision makers. At the programme level, the Framework can be used as a programme level check-list to help programme managers to apply these indicators in their work.
The tools developed will be provided in Excel format to allow users to tailor them to their own specific purposes and to institutional requirements.
The QACEP Quality Framework toolkit consists of the following:
1. Introduction to the Framework describing the principles of the Framework, and how the Framework and its associated tools can be used.
2. Self-evaluation tool for continuing education programme(s) / institutions
3. Examples of institutional tools:
Tool example 1: Defining stakeholders of the programme for monitoring + tool to help to formulate feedback questions
Tool example 2: Checklist for evaluation of the quality assurance system