The ECBCheck initiative is a professional community of organisations that are interested in quality issues in the field of e-Learning for Capacity Building. Organisations are able to join this community by signing a declaration of intent that demonstrates their interest and self commitment in the area of quality in e-Learning. This community offers an environment in which members can professionalise their own quality practices up to the point of certification of their programmes or even their whole institution. One possible activity within this community concerns the sharing of experiences and best practices and aggregating these experiences into benchmarking and benchlearning processes. Organisations which are in addition to this also interested in a more formalised review of their practices can undergo a structured certification process that, if successfully completed, will lead to the awarding of a label. In order to allow this progression, a three level approach is suggested.
- Level 1: Organisations may become members of a professional community to demonstrate their interest in quality by signing a declaration of intent (Annex 1). All members of this community gain access to guidelines, tools as well as best practices for both programmes and institutions. This includes the access to the criteria catalogues and ToolKit for the self-assessment.
- Level 2: In a second level, member organisations can actively get involved into quality development and professionalisation of their quality practices. They may get involved into the sharing and adoption of best practices and aggregating these into benchmarking and benchlearning processes together with other organisations from the field. They also have the possibility to use and adopt the provided ToolKit for a self-assessment to identify strengths and areas for improvement within single programmes or the whole institution. It is the unique characteristic of the architecture that ECBCheck offers all these measures for quality improvement without the need to enter a certification process, thus responding to the requirements of the international community.
- Level 3: In a third level, organisations who are also interested in a more formalised review of their practices can undergo a structured certification process that, if successfully completed, will lead to the awarding of a label. This process is based on an extensive self-assessment supported by the ToolKit provided before. The self-assessment is supposed to be rather self critical to assist the organisation in working on quality issues rather than promotional. As soon as the organisation has finished the self-assessment process, the results of this process are validated through a peer-review with another organisation from the community which has already obtained the label before. To make sure that there are always enough organisations available as a peer-review partner, organisations which obtain the label are encouraged to suggest peer reviewers for the pool.
The figure below illustrates an exemplary life-cycle of an organisation within the ECBCheck community. However, it is not compulsory that an organisation completes the formal certification process, however it is recommended to benefit from all possibilities for quality development that are offered by ECBCheck.
In conclusion, the focus of ECBCheck will be supporting organisations in benchmarking their quality practices, improving their tools and learn from each other in a community based exchange.