One of the fundamental tenets of quality management is the need to find useful measurements to inform the quality improvement cycle. Measurements provide evidence of return on investment, which is a pressing need in a climate of ever-diminishing resources.
The links on this page provide more information about the quality cycle (quality triangle), measurements and the importance of summative evaluation.
Measurements need to inform the cycle of continuous improvement in order to result in improved quality. Further research is underway to investigate the type of measurements that would be meaningful in providing management information in order to close the feedback loop in the QMS Triangle.
Measures may be of various types:
- product or process measurements
- quantitative or qualitative measurements
- metrics (absolute measures) or heuristics (rules of thumb) (Lowe & Hall, 2001)
In the higher education environment, the first two of Kirkpatrick's four levels of course evaluation are appropriate, namely:
- Reaction (feedback from clients)
- Learning (the achievement of learning outcomes) (Kirkpatrick, 1998)
Methodologies and appropriate measures are currently being researched, in order to contribute to measuring the impact and ROI of e-learning in a higher education institution.
One form of evaluation is client feedback and client satisfaction, which will be investigated in more detail in our newly formulated summative evaluation procedure. This procedure describes how we gather regular customer feedback after implementation of our e-learning products. Our immediate customers are lecturers; our ultimate customers are the students who use the web-supported and multimedia courses produced by the project team.
Feedback from both our client groups is gathered as follows:
- Student feedback (via clickUP surveys)
- Lecturer feedback (from the Project Review Meeting)
The objectives of the summative evaluation procedure are to ensure that:
- EI obtains regular feedback from clients, in order to continuously improve our E-education products, after implementation and in preparation for the next year.
- Student feedback data is shared with Project Leaders, Lecturers and Instructional Designers.
- EI assesses the added value (impact) we contribute to the teaching and learning process, in terms of E-education.
- EI provides management information in terms of the impact of E-education, which contributes to the study on Return on Investment.
- EI builds up a collection of client satisfaction data and management information for further research projects.