CATEGORY: Human Competence | AUTHOR: Racheal Smith
Quality Assurance and Personal Development - Unnatural Bedfellows?
How can you monitor the quality of learning, maintaining a high standard while freeing the individual to develop themselves?
Individual human potential is unique, so setting a standard feels counter-intuitive. Is it possible to quality assure a program designed to facilitate personal development?
QA versus the individual
When you think about quality assurance, you might assume that you impose an organisational standard and outcomes on learning and development. There is an implied requirement to understand the key performance indicators for an organisation and then gather evidence to support these outcomes. Any process to ensure the quality of learning is determined through the lens of the institution's needs.
In contrast, when we think about personal development, the focus is on the individual. What matters is the transformation for the person undertaking the learning, and this is highly subjective. A sense of development for one person might be a feeling of stagnation for another. It depends on the perception, ambition, and context of the individual. This sort of personal development defies standardisation and so makes quality assurance processes challenging. To impose standards here would shake the psychological safety required when undertaking genuine personal development.
What if you want to design learning that encourages the learner to personally develop and offer assured outcomes for the organisation? Is it possible to serve both masters and succeed?
Directing your focus
It all depends on where you look to find the quality you want to assure.
When you are looking to develop yourself personally, it is always helpful to receive feedback. Outside counsel can help you to see the context and your part in the learning with more objectivity. There is often wisdom that you can take on board or shape to be useful for your future development.
Also, for many, seeking rewards for learning is a positive driver to continue the endeavour. People sometimes need to be told they are on the right track to find the motivation to continue. The assessment, when used formatively, can accelerate learning.
Therefore, if you seek to quality assure this assessment flow, you increase the power of the learning done. If you assess the learning behaviours rather than the outcomes, you protect the individuality of the learner and their development needs. If you follow the logic, by quality assuring the assessment of the learning behaviours, you are directly assuring the quality of the learning.
Using tradition to change paradigms
The quality assurance of assessment has a long history. There are structures and procedures in place that have endured, ensuring that the rewards released are meaningful.
While Entelechy embraces the personal journey of our learners, when it comes to offering one of our digital credentials, we hold all our stakeholders to a high standard. The work you do to get to the point of assessment can be yours to shape. However, when you declare that you have experienced a transformation thanks to this learning, we will ask you to prove the worth of your claim.
We ask four questions and give the learner 500 words to capture the learning that has taken place. We ask about the hopes for the learning journey and why this Character Quality was important to their development. We ask what the learner gained from exploring the ideas of others and how they applied this learning in their work. Finally, we ask for the key takeaways from the learner's journey in their practice.
We expect our assessors to hold the learner to a high standard of response. The assessor will say "yes" you have made a powerful learning journey or "not yet" with an invitation to continue learning.
Entelechy has a role to play in setting the standard for what a powerful learning journey looks like. We train our assessors to see it, and then we monitor their work with their learners. Like a traditional examination board, we offer training to our assessors, and we ask for a sample of work to ensure they are applying the training appropriately. We will step in and support our assessors and learners where this standard is not met.
We apply quality assurance at this point in our product because an Entelechy digital credential will mean something when it appears on their CV.
Entelechy is challenging the paradigm of what is assessed, and we are using long-held traditions in ensuring the quality of this assessment.
Quality Assurance and Personal Development
We are working to make the personal development of learners mean something. Every day, people are undertaking good work to improve their character and ensure they show up as the best version of themselves. We want to help in this journey – and we want to offer a meaningful reward for the endeavour. Our quality assurance procedures during our assessments will make earning an Entelechy digital credential a positive asset to landing a dream job.