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Monday, November 20, 2017

Quality Checklist for Training and Professional Development Courses for Associations

The members of associations and professional societies share common goals and interests; the most important of these tends to be professional advancement, enhanced knowledge, and networking.

At the center of achieving professional development is often formal training taught by experts, with credits officially awarded at the end, and records maintained by the organization.

Because the organizations represent the profession, they are under an ethical as well as a practical obligation to maintain high quality. However, it’s not always easy to develop a course template or set of criteria.

For convenience, here is a quick checklist of content and quality attributes to be sure to include in your courses.  Keep in mind that this is simply a quick checklist. If you would like a more detailed description, and an explanation of how to build the course itself for online, on-site, or hybrid delivery, there are a number of in-depth guides which I refer to at the end of this post.

Checklist of Content and Quality Attributes
Here are the essential elements that you need to include in your courses.  You may wish to formalize the list, format, fonts, etc in what is commonly referred to as a Course Design Document (CDD), which also includes instructional design guidelines. 
At the same time, you may wish to create a template.

•    Title of the course and the reason for its relevance
•    Learning objectives:  What will the measurable outcomes be?  What should the learner be able to do or demonstrate at the end of the course? What are the criteria for success?
•    Overview / brief description of the course
•    Bullet point of topics covered
•    Course materials:  Map them to the learning objectives

        * Main content
        * Engagers
        * Check your knowledge / interactive activities

•    Collaborative and individual activities:  Map them to the learning objectives
•    Assessment strategy:
  •     Activities in course – do they count?  How much? Why?
  •     Class participation and collaborations – How do they count?
  •     Final projects or exams
    • Rubric
    • Minimum passing score
    • Practice for multiple choice
Checklist of Instructor Qualifications 
In order to satisfy quality standards, it is important that your instructor and main subject matter expert(s) and that they have pertinent experience.
•    Relevant Experience
•    Educational qualifications
•    Experience in instruction

Checklist for Utilizing Learning Analytics and Effective Evaluations to Ensure High Quality Training:
As you review your course and the way you anticipate that the students will interact and engage with it, take a moment to develop a profile of your learners, their attributes, and learning goals. What are their needs?  Understanding the audience will help shape the following:
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Course outcomes
  • Course Design Document to tie LOs to content and assessment
  • Types of analytics that are available
  • Mastery learning
  • Time on task
  • Collaborations
  • Discussion
  • Formative evaluations
  • Engaging analytics (Did You Know?)
  • Summative evaluations
  • Assessments tying to learning outcomes
As you plan the courses, be sure to make sure that they are up to date, relevant, and they address current and emerging needs and trends.

References (please contact Susan for a free pdf of each).

Nash, Susan S. (2009) E-Learner Survival Guide. Norman, OK: Texture Press.

PDF (free)

Nash, Susan S. (2013) E-Learning Success: From Courses to Careers. Norman, OK: Texture Press.

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