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Assuring & Maintaining Quality in Health Professions Education

Assuring & Maintaining Quality in Health Professions Education

Health professions teachers and managers need to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of their teaching and of the learning that takes place.  Evaluation generally occurs within defined (professional, national, internal) quality assurance frameworks that have common features.  Understanding quality assurance systems and evaluation methods will help teachers to improve the student learning experience.

This module discusses how and introduces the most common tools used in the evaluation of teaching and learning.

Higher and professional education across the world has undergone rapid change. The expansion of student numbers, widening diversity and opening access, the impact of e-learning systems that facilitate distance and mobile learning, and increasing recognition of the importance of workplace learning have led to concerns over maintaining and enhancing educational quality across a diverse sector.

Addressing such concerns has led all establishments with educational missions, from schools to universities as well as statutory, professional and regulatory bodies, to place greater emphasis on demonstrating:

  • Quality improvement and enhancement
  • Accountability for spending public money, particularly within resource constraints
  • Transparency of processes involving admissions/selection, teaching/learning, assessment and quality assurance
  • The specification and achievement of competencies and outcomes against defined standards
  • Early identification and remediation of ‘failing’ students or practitioners.

 

The ‘quality agenda’ in health professions education has seen shifts towards explicit standard-setting, evidence-based education, metrics and indicators to measure continuous improvement, and the establishment of structures and processes that enable (sometimes require) self-governance and monitoring.  The ‘quality agenda’ therefore impacts on all aspects of education at all levels, from funding and regulatory bodies through to educational providers and ultimately to teachers and learners.

Before you start

Before you start the module, we recommend that you spend a few minutes thinking about the following points and noting down some of your thoughts. If you are registered on the site, you can do this in the ‘reflections area’. Click on the ‘my area’ link at the top of the page to access your personal pages. Please note that you must be logged in to do this. Please also note that you will need to contribute to the ‘reflections area’ during the course of the module in order to complete and print out your certificate.

Thinking points

Consider your own role as a teacher and think about what methods you use to evaluate the quality of teaching and learning.

 

  • What types of methods are the most useful in improving the learning experience?

 

Consider your own experience of gathering feedback from learners:

  • What kinds of formal and informal feedback do you collect?
  • Do you know what happens to the feedback and how is this used to improve the learners’ experience?
  • Think of one or two examples where evaluation feedback has actively improved the learning experience.

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Further information

More information about this module, further reading and a complete list of glossary terms.

Learning activities

Read about the recommended learning activities for this module.