Quality Auditing the Learning Journey
Using quality audits to drive organisational improvement
The quality of the learning experience can make a significant contribution to success rates, contract performance and inspection grades. Most providers recognise this and have procedures in place to help maintain quality, including quality audits, designed to help ensure the quality procedures are followed.
Unfortunately most quality audits focus on process compliance and are not as effective as they should be in supporting continuous improvement. The latter is of course an essential ingredient for achieving grade 1 inspection results.
Truly effective quality auditing of the learner journey needs to do far more than ensure process compliance. It needs to be the tool that ensures the quality assurance system is driving and delivering real improvements in the learners’ experience and organisational efficiency.
Far too many learner journey audits focus on compliance. For example, audits may check that learner progress reviews have taken place at the correct time and that information is provided in all relevant sections but fail to evaluate the quality of the review itself, i.e. the quality of what is recorded and the action to be taken.
Because continuous improvement is pivotal to longer term organisational success and an essential ingredient for grade 1 inspection results, all providers need to be confident that their quality audit system is as effective as possible. This workshop explores and demonstrates how to achieve this.
This highly interactive workshop has been designed for:
- Quality Managers and Co-ordinators who have limited experience in designing and undertaking learner journey audits that focus on quality rather than compliance
- Staff who aspire, or expect to become Quality Managers and Co-ordinators
The workshop may also be relevant to the needs of experienced Quality Managers and Co-ordinators who are looking to further develop this type of quality audit process in their organisation.
Please note, the content and focus of this workshop is on post 16 vocational learning however previous attendees from the other sectors including schools have found the approaches very transferable but we must emphasise that the workshop does not explore ways to transfer to other sectors
Aims and Objectives
The workshop has been designed to help organisations improve the effectiveness of learner journey quality auditing practices, which will help further enhance the quality of the learners’ learning experience, and organisational performance.
Participants, who complete the workshop, should be able to describe and clearly explain:
- the primary purpose of learner journey process quality audits
- the differences between quality focused and compliance focused audits
- the function of learner journey quality audits, within the wider organisation Quality Management system
- how to ensure that audit outcomes are owned by line managers
- effective auditing methodology
- how to plan audits
- managing audit interviews effectively
- what audit documentation is required to conduct effective audits
- the purpose of an audit schedule
'Excellent for the company, where we are now and what can be done to improve quality. The best Excellence in Learning workshop to date.'
Excellence & Innovation Manager, Bolton College
'Excellent workshop, provided excellent advice & guidance with good operational techniques. Thank you, very helpful.'
Head of Central Services, St Loyes Foundation
'Invaluable knowledge about how to schedule audits, develop documentation and encourage curriculum teams to take ownership.'
Head of Quality, Oaklands College
The workshop will look at what learner journey process quality audits should be trying to achieve and what needs they address. The difference between audits that focus on checking things are done and audits which measure the quality of what is done will be explored.
Quality audits are a component of an effective Quality Management System. How they fit within the system linking to other QA activities and how they contribute to continuous improvement will be considered. How audits relate to process performance measurement will be evaluated.
If line managers do not buy into the value of quality audits and take forward the outcomes of such audits, then processes they manage will not improve. This section of the workshop will look at how to ensure that audit outcomes are owned by line managers, through the use of a ‘coaching’ rather than ‘policing’ approach.
In some quarters there is a perception that quality audits are only of documentation. In the workshop we will look at auditing methodology which encompasses both documentation audits and direct process delivery observation audits. Issues related to frequency and approaches to sampling will also be considered. The concept of two tier audits will be reviewed including the value of engaging line managers in such a process and how this approach applies in subcontractor audit contexts.
Like most things in life, if the way we approach tasks and activities lacks effective planning, the outcomes are less likely to be effective. This element of the workshop will look at how to plan audits, what different aspects of an audit process need to be considered and how to apply the Risk Assessment principle effectively.
An important component of an audit is usually meeting with managers to gather information and to discuss the outcomes of the audit. Gathering information effectively can be dependent upon the quality of the questions asked. To that end, this aspect of the workshop will look at how to use different questioning techniques to gather information during an audit interview. In this section we will also consider how to manage discussions about outcomes, particularly where the manager is likely to challenge the outcomes. In relation to which, we will look at how to anticipate and manage people’s reactions when dealing with under-performance issues.
This workshop component will look at the variety of documentation that is necessary to ensure quality audits are managed effectively. This includes the role of such documentation in reducing the subjectivity in the judgements made by auditors.
Staff who manage audits need to be well organised. We will explore how an audit schedule can assist. We will also look at how such a schedule links to an organisation’s Quality Cycle.
Learning will be facilitated through:
- interactive discussions
- presentation of examples of good practice
- group and individual problem solving exercises
- tutor feedback to individuals
- participants’ critical evaluation of their own quality audit processes
- comparative analysis of the quality audit processes demonstrated in the workshop and the processes used by other workshop participants.
Internal Staff Training and Development
This training workshop, along with most of our other best practice training workshops, can be delivered as an internal training course at your premises. Even with groups as small as 6-8 delegates, the course fees per person for internal training workshops can be lower than for open events. The potential savings are even greater, if the travel time and the travel costs of the delegates are included.
Running training workshops internally is very convenient and it allows the participants to explore how key issues will impact on them and their organization. Then as a team they can begin to agree upon a development action plan, with priorities. This approach is favoured by many of our clients as it combines a high quality service with excellent value for money and is a highly effective route for staff development.
Related Quality Improvement Workshops
- Developing Subcontractor Performance - Improving Quality and Success Rates
- Getting Quality Assurance Right (FE & Skills)
- Optimising the Use of Good Practice
- Quality Auditing the Learning Journey
- The Journey to Grade 1 - Outstanding
Certificates of Professional Development.
This course is recognised for CPD purposes by most professional institutes and associations including the Law Society, the CIM, the CMI, the ICAEW, the Institute of Learning and the CIPD. Formal Certificates of Professional Development will be issued by email to participants who successfully complete this course. These certificates will enable participants to evidence the update of their CPD records. The workshop will consider how to best apply the knowledge gained by the delegates upon their return to the workplace. This element of the programme is designed to maximise the benefits of attending and enable participants to make valued judgments when recording CPD activities