Quality Matters and the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance Release Revised K-12 National Standards For Quality Online Courses

Industry: Education

Updated and expanded standards reflect current best practices in course design while providing flexibility to accommodate a wide-range of program types and available resources

Annapolis, MD (PRUnderground) October 8th, 2019

The revised National Standards for Quality Online Courses are now available. Last updated in 2011, the recent revision brings the standards in line with today’s best practices and provides online K-12 schools, districts and programs with a solid foundation for building quality online learning experiences.  

The broad-based collaborative effort was led by Quality Matters (QM) and the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance (VLLA), who joined forces to continue the important work that iNACOL began. “For more than a decade, the National Standards for Quality Online Courses have guided countless districts and organizations in the design of high-quality blended or online courses that support student success,” said Bruce Friend, iNACOL’s Chief Operating Officer. “Now in the skillful hands of QM and VLLA, we are confident that the standards will continue to be a vital asset for the entire K-12 community.”

“Quality Matters involvement in the revision of the National Standards for Quality Online Courses was a natural complement to the work we do every day to ensure the quality of online and blended learning environments,” said Dr. Deb Adair, Quality Matters Executive Director. “Partnering with the VLLA and countless others allowed us to bring our expertise to the greater K-12 community and to create a resource that correlates with the QM K-12 Rubric and official course reviews, providing a comprehensive set of resources to ensure quality in online learning.”

Over 100 individuals with expertise in either K-12 online learning research or practice contributed to the revision, representing a variety of state and regional online learning programs as well as universities and researchers. Private companies, nonprofit organizations and foundations were also represented. A comprehensive literature review, a user survey and correlation documents were employed to inform the revision process, resulting in standards that reflect the latest best practices. They also include new explanations and examples that expand the guidance provided in previous versions. The explanations and examples also create flexibility — allowing programs to apply the standards to blended, competency-based or other learning strategies employed.

“The fifteen members of the VLLA bring a combined 150 years of online and blended learning experience to the table,” noted VLLA’s Director Cindy Hamblin. “That experience was an invaluable asset as we went through the revision process. It allowed us to incorporate the numerous changes that have taken place in our field over the last several years and to provide guidance on what exemplary practice looks like today.”

The Quality Matters K-12 Rubric builds on the National Standards for Quality Online Courses, with the Rubric offering an expanded presentation of the standards and full Annotations. These added elements allow for a robust review process. Course design certification — which serves as the mark of course quality for The National Standards for Quality Online Learning — is achieved through QM Official Reviews using the QM Rubric.

QM’s Director of K-12 Programs Christine Voelker and VLLA’s Director Cindy Hamblin spearheaded the revision efforts on behalf of their organizations and are committed to the ongoing review and improvement of the standards. 

The revised standards are available to the public under a Creative Commons License and can be downloaded on the National Standards for Quality website.

For more information, please contact Christine Voelker or Cindy Hamblin.

About Quality Matters

Grounded in research. Driven by best practices. A community that puts learners first. Quality Matters (QM) is the global organization leading quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. It provides a scalable quality assurance system for online and blended learning used within and across organizations. When you see QM Certification Marks on courses or programs, it means they have met QM Course Design Standards or QM Program Review Criteria in a rigorous review process.

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