The Quality Model

The Quality Model has been developed to guide practice, and reflection on practice, in order to enhance the quality of the learning experience for those engaged in the learning and teaching of languages. It approaches quality from a teacher and learner perspective and supports a bottom-up view of quality assurance which is based in practice and which has a mainly enhancement function that can work alongside and complement other more formal internal and external quality assurance processes in higher education institutions.

Toolkit contents

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LanQua Quality Model: Download (pdf)

Planning purpose implementation Monitoring and evaluation Adaption Reflective practitioner context context

Stage 1. Planning : overview and process

QA question: What are you trying to do?
Effective teaching and learning reflects good planning which considers the essential questions of the purpose (aims and objectives), subject content, and delivery of any learning activity in the context of the learning environment and in relation to key stakeholders including employers, parents, policy makers as well as students. Planning is an iterative process as it informs, and is informed by, practice and evaluation of practice. Thus it may undergo revisions in response to active teacher reflection and learner feedback.

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Stage 2. Purpose: objectives and outcomes

QA question: Why are you trying to do it?

This stage focuses on a consideration of the aims and objectives of the learning and most importantly the intended learning outcomes for the planned learning activity. This resupposes a mainly outcomes driven approach in which the starting point is a consideration of what the learner is expected to: “…know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate after completion of a process of learning.” DG Education and Culture² (2009).

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Stage 3. Implementation: teaching, learning and facilitaion methods

QA question: How are you going to do it and why is that the best way to do it?

Consideration of the purpose and outcomes for a learning activity corresponds closely to a more specific implementation or methodology. This includes a number of practical issues relating to teaching and learning methods, roles and resources.

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Stage 4. Monitoring and evaluation: results and feedback

QA question: How will you know that it works?

This stage relates to the outcomes of and response to the learning experience. It includes (and is sometimes synonymous with) the outcomes of formative and summative assessment but also relates to the question of whether or not a particular teaching or learning activity/module/programme etc. has been successful from a learner and/or teacher perspective. The monitoring process feeds into the evaluation and revision of teaching and informs larger-scale review (including formal quality assurance) which takes place after the teaching has been implemented and assessed.

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Stage 5. Adaption: modification and revision

QA question: How will you be able to improve it?

In reality the adaptation phase of the quality process will take place at various stages in the quality cycle as indicated by the cross-cutting arrows in the diagram presented here. Thus planning will reflect the outcomes of previous instances of the planned activity or its precedents, and implementation will be informed by ongoing monitoring and evaluation and practice may be adapted ‘in practice’ as well as ‘post-practice’.

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For the Quality Model described here the broad context is European higher education. However, each national context will be different with differing levels of institutional autonomy, formal quality assurance (QA) management and internal processes to support quality enhancement. Thus the engagement with and articulation of quality will vary across member states and the processes described in the Quality Model will be implemented in a variety of ways in response to these different contexts.

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Reflective practitioner

The Quality Model is based around the notion of reflective practice, in this case of the teacher/facilitator who is engaged in an iterative cycle of reflection for, in and on action. This notion draws on the work of Donald Schön¹ (1983) who developed the idea of the reflective practitioner which essentially relates to the ways in which practitioners think about and enhance their practice. Schön paid particular attention to the idea of reflection in action, reflection in the moment of doing or ‘thinking on one’s feet’ which forms a key part of the quality cycle described here.

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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