Quality Assurance of e-Learning in Slovakia
The quality of Vocational Education and Training (VET) is assured by the accreditation of VET educational programmes (European Commission, 2021). The responsible body is the Accreditation Commission for Further Education, which is an advisory body of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic (MESRS). Quality assurance is monitored by systematic monitoring activity carried out by the Ministry. Secondary schools obtain accreditation for educational programmes of further education that are equivalent to study fields listed for the school concerned registered in the network. Education of teachers is realized through the Methodological and Pedagogical Center (MPC). Through its three regional and six external offices, the MPC provides continuing professional development (CPD) in accredited educational programmes for VET. During the pandemic, it has been continualy providing online consutations, short methodological inspirations, the interactive houses of knowledge, educational events, teachers forums and trainings for school management.
Higher education institutions (HEI) obtain accreditation for VET programmes of further education based on valid accreditation of higher education study programmes. HEIs have been in transformation since 2019 in order to ensure the harmonization of standards for quality assurance in higher education with the ESG European standards (ENQA, 2015). HEIs must have established an internal set of procedures, criteria and indicators according to "Standards for the Higher Education Internal Quality Assurance System" through which the review panels of the Agency evaluate compliance with these standards. Study programmes accreditation is based on "Standards for Study Programmes". After the transformation process, it is planned to include ENQA requirements relating to eLearning processes quality assurance into these standards. HEI have own centres for education of adults.
Currently some of the HEI have their own frameworks and guidelines for quality assurance of eLearning. For instance, the Comenius University in Bratislava developed an internal manual, "How to Online Education," and a questionnaire based on the university's own experience and immediate needs of Covid-19 pandemic situation. Another example is the Vysoká škola manažmentu/CityU of Seattle, which offers study programs accredited in the USA by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and in Slovakia by SAAHE. It has its own online model, according to (City University of Seattle, 2021). The University of Prešov uses a survey instrument based on the Kirkpatrick evaluation method for evaluation and improvement of eLearning processes. The vast majority of the HEIs use Learning Management System (LMS) for delivering and managing eLearning courses as one of the ways to improve the quality of eLearning, while the Moodle LMS is the most used.
Recently, the Slovak Accreditation Agency for Higher Education (SAAHE) has organized the event named "Quality of Distance Education", which aimed at discussing the specifics of quality assurance of distance learning and sharing experiences of the HEI. The HEIs presented different approaches used to assure eLearning quality, from internally created questionnaires measuring selected eLearning quality elements to eLearning models based on various European and international frameworks. Slovak educational system hasn`t applied any official unified national framework for quality assurance of eLearning so far, but MESRS is conducting a survey to found out how is the work of teachers affected by pandemic.