ISO 9001 In Education and Training

While associated with manufacturing and service, ISO 9001 must be considered as an effective management system for education programs. If we take into consideration the desired outcome i.e; learning, education, and learning is also just another form of service. The end product is the skills/ability or knowledge achieved by the attendees/students.

As with other services, the delivery of training and skills incorporates the design of design, development, validation, delivery and subsequent improvement. Therefore, when we apply the same requirements of ISO 9001 to educational activities, we find that it aligns just perfect with generally accepted practices.

The fundamental objective of any Quality Management Software is to ensure that the requirements of the customer are met and in order to define these needs as they relate to education and training, our first objective is to identify and define the primary customer of these services which are the students. I will be using the word “primary customers” due to the fact that numerous substitute customers may be involved, these include the student’s parents, the investor or the state that provides funding for the institution or even the country which is enrolling the skill development activities.

If we consider corporate training, we must take into account the needs of the employers, the industry they serve. The list of potential customers can vary and depends on a number of offerings that are available; identification of these customers is also extremely important because of the overall need for training & assessment process.

Once the above customers have been defined, their needs must be translated into terms that can be understood by the organization, and that can be further developed to serve as a measurement of an individual’s competency. Typically, these needs are reflected through the establishment of learning outcome statements, commonly referred to as learning objectives. Upon completion of a specific portion of a program (or upon the completion of the program as a whole), the participant should be able to demonstrate a defined level of mastery of the course content or be able to demonstrate the ability to perform a specific task or activity.

To determine if these needs are satisfied, the participant’s performance throughout this entire process is monitored, and at defined intervals, the individual’s ability to meet a defined learning objective is measured against an established set of criteria (be it quizzes, examinations, demonstrations or other evaluation methods). Once the criteria established for competency is met, the objective is considered to be achieved.

System documentation required by the ISO 9001 standard, including a quality manual, and the six “system” procedures required by the ISO 9001 standard – the control of documents, the control of records, internal audits, the control of nonconformances, corrective action and preventive action all have a place in this system (as do the 19 types of records addressed in the ISO 9001 standard); they are just as relevant in this application as they are with their counterparts in other industries. Additional documentation, addressing the various activities performed by the organization will also be needed, as necessary to address the critical nature of the activities performed, as well as to ensure the customer needs to be defined above are met.

 

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