Online education continues to expand to meet the unique needs of a technological, knowledge based economy. The move towards more online education has challenged the paradigm of the traditional on ground experience which has dominated academia for centuries. However, online learning is not without its detractors. One common concern raised with respect to online learning relates to the quality of the experience, particularly related to on ground education. Key stakeholders such as students, regulatory bodies and employers all want to ensure that the online experience is similar or equivalent to that of the traditional on ground learning. To achieve quality in online learning there has been increased emphasis on developing appropriate frameworks that can be used guide quality efforts. In addition, many organizations have either been developed to support quality in online learning or existing organizations have included quality sections to provide networking opportunities to improve the product. This paper explores the current framework for managing online quality from the perspective of the United States; and, the paper discusses the role of a formal quality model that can be used to guide online quality efforts.
Education is a service with multiplicity of student interactions over time and across multiple touch points. Quality teaching needs to be supplemented by consistent quality supporting services for programs to succeed under the competitive distance learning landscape. ServQual and e-SQ scales have been proposed for measuring quality of traditional and eCommerce services. Currently there are no instruments available to measure the quality of distance learning services. With the growing demand for online education there is a need for an instrument to measure the quality of online distance learning services. This study addresses the gap by identifying the dimensions and the service quality scale (DL-sQUAL) of online distance learning programs.
Article originally appeared in: “On line Journal of Distance learning administration”, V. 9 (2006), n. 2. Republished with permission.