Quality Assurance Processes in E-Learning - An Estonian Case

Toomas Plank, Anne Villems, Lehti Pilt, Marit Dremljuga-Telk, Merle Varendi, Eneli Sutt


Open innovation has received ample attention in thebusiness management and policy literature, but not so much in the educationalcontext. E-learning has been one of the main fields of innovation in theteaching and learning side of higher education for many years already. Thequality assurance process in e-learning can be used as an innovation ineducation. In 1999, Estonian universities had only 14 e-learning courses, butwith thirteen years this number has increased to more than 7000. The process ofawarding the e-course quality label was initiated in 2008. To run the awardingprocess, e-Learning Development Centre has formed a quality assurance taskforce, consisting of experts from many different higher educationorganisations. The task force developed a manual with quality criteria, set upa 3-tier process, beginning with self-evaluation, followed by organisationevaluation containing also learners’ feedback and 3-member team expertevaluation. Applicants and experts are encouraged to fill a feedback form aboutthe application and evaluation process which helps to improve the process fromyear to year. In 2011 the e-learning quality web which supports all 3 tiers ofthe process was created. The quality web is also a good tool for collectingstatistics.Approximately 35 e-courses have participated in theapplication process each year. While only 38% qualified for the quality labelduring year 2008, the rate of successful applicants for the most recent yearwas 63%. The feedback from applicants suggests that this rise can be attributedto clearer understanding of quality criteria and better preparation ofevaluators and streamlining of the process itself.In this paper we will look into the innovation ofteaching and learning of the Estonian universities and vocational educationinstitutions giving an overview how the system for quality assurance ine-learning was collaboratively prepared for an open innovation at nationallevel.


Quality label, e-learning


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