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Defining Quality in eLearning world

This is inspired by blog Defining Quality in Learning for Virtual Worlds, Mobile Devices and Online Modules. I believe it is high time we get on with a working definition of quality from e-Learning systems.

When we talk about quality, definition that is closest to my heart is ‘value to someone’ from Dr. Gerald M. Weinberg. It is closest to my heart because I find it easy to apply into a business context. Well, that some one is the customer who invests in the product on behalf of the user (if customer and user are different). That is also the user who actually uses the product. That also includes balancing interests of many other stakeholders. Does that sound confusing? Not necessarily. Art of management is about balancing various forces. It is not one at the cost of others

That brings to FURPS+, traditional classification of quality we use in software engineering. I believe all dimensions require attention. Reliability, Performance and Supportability of the solution is as important as Functionality and Usability.

Well, that sounds too generic? What is “good enough” quality for a specific project/product must be assessed with respect to stakeholders of that project/product. I believe, assessing them on all dimensions are important though one could define degree of acceptable tolerance/compromise taking respective stakeholders into confidence

Now getting specific to the eLearning, two key elements that make a successful eLearning system are i) technology and ii) content. From technology perspective, I would consider adaptability, scalability and maintainablity apart from FURPS+. Well, I am aware these are already addressed by FURPS+ but I think these require special attention as the eLearning technology space is still evolving. From content perspective, I would classify it further into quality of content, quality of content presentation, and quality of content delivery. In the latter two (that is, quality of content presentation and quality of content delivery) role of technology is significant but what I would like to assess is what does it mean for the user, and other stakeholders


November 10, 2009 - Posted by | e-Learning, eLearning, Software Quality

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