1. What is the purpose of internal quality assurance in learning and development?
In order to answer the question we must first understand exactly what the terms ‘quality assurance’ and ‘learning & development’ mean.
ISO 9000 defines quality assurance as the "part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled".
Hilsdon defines Learning Development as, "a complex set of multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary academic roles and functions, involving teaching, tutoring, research, and the design and production of learning materials, as well as involvement in staff development, policy-making and other consultative activities.”
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* Assessment strategies – following them ensures the IQA role is executed correctly.
* Risk Factors Taken into consideration when planning IQA activities, such as: assessor expertise, confidence and competence, whether new, experienced, qualified or working towards an Assessor Award. If activity is planned according to the principles in ‘CAMERA’, then any result is likely to be representative of the whole and should give an accurate picture of what is happening in the delivery and assessment of the activity.
* Evaluation – evidence based assessments (summative/formative), using pre-determined indicators (norm/criterion referenced), external benchmarks, applied consistently, with independent verification of evidence and conclusions.
* Interim or summative sampling - reviewing samples perhaps before decisions have been made on any unit or when one or two units are completed, versus doing it all at the end of a course of instruction.
* Transparency - criteria, regulations and procedures accessible by all prior to any assessment activity taking place.
* VACSR – Validity (Construction/Face/Content/Predictive), Authenticity (mirrors the workplace/accounts for plagiarism), Currency (assessment appropriate now/iaw current regulations/qualification lapse), Sufficiency (how much evidence/how often) & Reliability (will it always work the same way for learners/assessors).
* Having a rationale - the reason why IQA takes place; ensures the activities used are safe, valid, fair and reliable.
The key principles are:
* Assessor competence - ensuring assessors are experienced and competent at their role, able to meet the requirements of the assessment strategy (if applicable), are maintaining their CPD and are themselves competent in the area under assessment. The reason that our Marine Manager (an onshore role for a qualified and experienced SESV Master Mariner) has responsibility for assessing our current offshore Masters and is due to complete the IMO recognized Competence Assessor Course so as to comply with the requirements of the CMS.
* Communication – a vital component of successful learning. An approachable demeanor enables communication whilst well developed listening skills ensure the communication is effective. Particularly true during feedback/de-brief sessions (preferably help after a period of self-reflection for the student). Must be regular; essential for all stakeholders (learners, assessors, other internal quality assurers, employers, witnesses etc).
* Continuing Professional Development (CPD) – the process by which individuals maintain their knowledge and skills as they pertain to their professional life/requirements (eg. This course for myself and others involved in the Company CMS).
* Equality and diversity – design and implementation of any IQA process should ensure it does not foster/facilitate discrimination or bias in any way; ensures inclusiveness. May for example include...