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Ashley Reddy

IT Director

Highfield e-learning

Accreditation in e-learning -

facts, myths and dangers

Having worked in the compliance elearning arena for a number of years, I'm

pretty used to pitching against magical

'accredited' courses.

These can replace a three-day course with

three hours of e-learning, and still result in the

same qualification. So today I wanted to

spend a little time arming you with the

information you need to spot this type of

course from a distance.

What are the myths?

As with all good examples of bending the

truth, there is always a little bit of truth in the

lie. I've therefore covered some common

misrepresentations below:

1. Training time - while replacing a three-day

course with a three-hour one is the most

extreme example I've seen, what we have

going on here, in general, is a little

exaggeration. E-learning is a very efficient way

of delivering knowledge-based learning.

Efficiencies come largely from the ability to

progress at your own pace, rather than the

pace of the tutor or the person with the lowest

ability level in the class. This means that many

'full day', or 6-7 hour, courses can often be

replaced with an e-learning course that takes

four hours or so to complete.

The addition of extra resources such as

handbooks and glossaries can ensure that

regulatory requirements for total qualification

time (TQT) or guided learning hours (GLH)

are met, while still offering a robust and

credible training session.

2. Accreditation of e-learning courses -

what does 'accredited' mean to you? Many

years ago I remember feeling misled after

buying bacon that was labelled 'outdoor

bred'. I had visions of pigs running around

fields and doing all sorts of 'pig' things. Only

later did I discover that the pigs lived in a tin

shed, as did their mother, but that their

mother's tin shed had a small concrete yard

which she could sit in, hence 'outdoor bred'.

Now the manufacturer had not lied, this

mental image was my assumption based on

the information presented. But the

manufacturer had helped me to arrive at this

conclusion, using all the tools a marketing

department has to offer. This is also what is

happening here with e-learning and

accreditation. Accreditation, in a qualification

sense, is the approval of an assessment

programme on to a regulated framework,

such as the RQF, the old QCF, SQA

Accreditation or Qualifications Wales. The

outcome here will be a regulated qualification,

and to achieve this you need to undertake a

robust period of learning, and depending on


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