African European Quality in eLearning network
Virtual Discussion on Quality for e-Learning in Africa June - July 2006
At the first E-Learning Africa conference in Addis Ababa, there was a pre-conference workshop on Quality for e-Learning, jointly organised by UNESCO and the European Foundation for Quality in eLearning (EFQUEL). Following this workshop was a four week virtual discussion, with the aim of providing a forum for the exchange of experiences and concepts in order to facilitate a network of experts and practitioners in the emerging fields of African eLearning and quality development and assurance in eLearning; a network between African and European stakeholders. The topics in the discussion concluded with the question ‘How do you see the future for quality development and assurance for eLearning in Africa?
The various discussions were characterised by the fact that Africa is facing parallel challenges in introducing quality assurance mechanisms on the one hand and e-Learning on the other, and that while globally the ‘quality’ discourse and the ‘e-Learning’ discourse are topical, they are frequently not discussed together. This is partly because of the number of different role players involved: as Prof John Stephenson expressed it, ‘the complexity and cost of setting up new e-Learning systems requires the active involvement and agreement of six very different key professionals: the teacher, the supplier of software systems, the institutional manager (budget holder), the designer, the technician and, of course, the learner. Each has a different set of expertise, priorities and concerns. Each speaks a separate professional language making it very difficult to achieve consensus’ (Stephenson, 2005). This picture is painted before one introduces quality management into the equation with its own professional language and varying interpretations of that language.
Therefore the overall aim of a network that we establish should be to focus on capacity building and skills development to ensure that people, providers and all different stakeholders are empowered to speak a common language; and become sufficiently 'eLearning literate' and 'quality literate' to implement high quality learner centered educational practice. This site is intended to provide a prototype for that process to begin.