The Quality Reference Framework (QRF)

It was developed by the European Alliance for the Quality of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), called MOOQ.

The QRF is available for download here under open and free license.

In close cooperation with European and international institutions and associations, MOOQ could involve in the QRF finalization more than 10,000 MOOC learners, designers, facilitators and providers through the Global MOOC Quality Survey (GMQS), the MOOQ presentations and workshops at regional, European and international conferences as well as communication and collaboration in traditional channels and social media. Many workshops at European and international conferences were organized and realized by the MOOQ coordinator Christian M. Stracke (OUNL) not only for the dissemination of the MOOQ project and its results but also for the direct discussion and feedback by all participants in open action labs and interactive workshops.

The QRF is based on the Reference Process Model from the unique and first global ISO quality standard for e-learning (ISO/IEC 40180) that was developed in 2005 and revised in 2017. As one result of all the external discussions, feedback loops and contributions from external experts, practitioners and learners, MOOQ has reduced the six processes from ISO/IEC 40180 down to five key processes.

The Quality Reference Framework consists of three dimensions:

Dimension 1: Phases Analysis, Design, Implementation, Realization, Evaluation
Dimension 2: Perspectives Pedagogical, Technological, and Strategic
Dimension 3: Roles Designer, Facilitator, and Provider

It is most important to note that MOOC designers, facilitators and providers have to select the appropriate and relevant phases and processes according to their situation, the learning objectives, target groups, context and conditions. Some processes are already decided and (partly or completely) defined by pre-conditions and requirements (e.g., the available resources, budget and staff).

In addition, the Quality Reference Framework provides the QRF Key Quality Criteria and the QRF Quality Checklist for designing and developing MOOCs.

Main target groups of the Quality Reference Framework are the designers, facilitators and providers of MOOCs as well as the MOOC learners.

The Quality Reference Framework can be used to analyse the needs and demands for future MOOCs, to design, develop and implement new MOOCs and to evaluate and improve existing MOOCs.

The main benefits of the Quality Reference Framework are:

  • It provides a generic framework that can be adapted to each specific context.
  • It identifies key quality criteria for better orientation on the MOOC design.
  • It presents a checklist for the quality development and evaluation of MOOCs.
  • It enables a continuous improvement cycle for MOOC design and provision.

The Quality Reference Framework is based on the International ISO standard ISO/IEC 40180 (former ISO/IEC 19796-1), the results from mixed methods research by MOOQ including the Global MOOC Quality Surveys and semi-structured interviews as well as the feedback from the MOOQ Workshops at international conferences.

Thus, the Quality Reference Framework was discussed at various platforms and progressively refined in close collaboration with all interested key stakeholders in Europe and worldwide.