BEQUEL Benchmarking methodology: On-line Benchmarking Algorithm, Usage Scenarios, Design Requirements
Benchmarking is an important part of market competition these days. Indeed, it allows companies to measure their services and processes against those of other organisations with similar operations. The Erasmus+ project BEQUEL focuses on VET providers who had to quickly turn to online teaching following the COVID crisis. Although some initiatives to integrate e-learning into vocational education and training had already been undertaken prior to this, COVID accelerated the process and prevented VET providers from focusing on the quality. It is now fundamental for this sector to adapt to this shift that contributed to the democratisation of e-learning and upgrade the quality of their trainings.
The aim of BEQUEL is to give VET providers a benchmarking tool for quality in e-learning, in order to boost quality within the sector. This benchmarking tool was designed to be convenient, time-efficient but also easy to grasp and to use.
To get an individual report and to get to compare oneself to the overall situation, one must create an account and log in to the BEQUEL platform to answer the benchmarking questionnaire. The questionnaire is based on the BEQUEL quality assurance framework and has six sections: Strategy and policy for e-learning, Support for trainers and trainees, Infrastructure support, Programme/course design, Development and approval for e-learning, e-learning training program evaluation procedures. Each section holds a set of statements which the user should assess on a four-level frequency Likert scale. Individual reports are anonymous and can only be accessed through the user's account. The names of the organisations who used the benchmarking tool are not collected.
To give relatable reports, the critical mass of responses has been set to a minimum of 20 in each country. Before this number is reached, questionnaires are anonymously stored but not used. Once the critical mass is reached, individual reports are completed with the user's three strong points and three weak points compared to the other users either in the same country or in all countries.
To conclude, the BEQUEL benchmarking tool allows VET providers to benchmark their e-learning quality assurance practices in an efficient and non-time-consuming way. It gives VET providers the opportunity to get a full benchmarking report without the inconvenience of monitoring and with the benefit of keeping their anonymity. The final aim is to take part in the creation of high-level online trainings in the participating countries.