Quality Assurance Framework for learning now in place
In accordance with its 2010-2012 Strategic Plan, the Institute has established a Quality Assurance Framework for learning events with the aim to validate the quality of UNITAR training products and services, strengthen quality and provide a platform for sharing experiences and lessons on quality review.
The framework is composed of three interacting elements, including a set of 16 quality standards, a self-assessment process by learning development managers and other staff, and an independent peer review process by the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC). To support the application of the framework, a set of guidelines has also been developed which describe the standards and provide guiding questions to facilitate their understanding, with practical examples and links to useful reference documents and resources such as those on the Click4it learning and training wiki.
The Institute is introducing the framework gradually, with managers required to apply the standards to all new learning events as of January 2013, and to all learning events as of July 2013.
In addition to being an internal benchmark for quality assurance, the framework is also a tool to facilitate certification with external quality improvement schemes, such as the certification process for e-Learning programmes and institutions in international capacity Building (ECBCheck) of the European Foundation for Quality in e-Learning (EFQUEL). Thus far, EFQUEL has awarded ECBCheck certifications to four UNITAR courses, with additional courses expected to receive certification by the end of 2013.
Although the 2010-2012 Strategic Plan has now concluded, quality is an important pillar in the Institute’s efforts to achieve its goal as a world-renowned centre of excellence, and will thus remain as a priority over the years to come. The QAC will closely monitor the application of the framework and make adjustments to the set of standards and guidelines as required, in addition to working to develop quality criteria in other dimensions of the Institute’s operations and programming.