Stage 5. Adaptation: modification and revision

In reality the adaptation phase of the quality process will take place at various stages in the quality cycle as a response to a number of factors. Thus planning will reflect the outcomes of previous instances of the planned activity or its precedents, and implementation will be informed by ongoing monitoring and evaluation and practice may be adapted ‘in practice’ as well as ‘post-practice’.

It is unlikely that this will lead to wholesale revision of an entire programme (particularly if appropriate planning procedures have been undertaken) and such an undertaking is likely to have a top‐down rather than bottom‐up impetus. Indeed in most cases such revision will only be possible after the completion and evaluation of the full learning cycle.

QA questions: How will you be able to improve it?

Areas to consider

Quality questions

Evaluation

In what respects do you feel that the programme/activity met or fell short of the objectives you set for it and are changes needed as a result?
Which features of the programme/activity worked particularly well and how might you extend their application?
What scope is there for improvement?
What feedback (student, peer, quality agency etc.) can you/must you act upon?

Revision

What would you do the same / differently next time?
What specific changes do you wish/need to make to your course/module etc.?
How do you intend to introduce these changes?
What obstacles do you envisage to the successful implementation of the planned improvements and how do you propose to overcome them?
What other adaptations might be necessary, e.g. to documentation, resources, guidance materials etc.?
What concrete measures will you introduce at both the organisational/administrative and pedagogical level to implement these changes?

Advice for practitioners

  • The depth and extent of any modification and revision to your teaching will depend on the nature and timing of the evaluation. At the end of the teaching cycle (course) you may choose to return to first principles, e.g. review your plan, reconsider the purpose and revise practice, which is easy to make explicit, if required. However adaptations in cycle are likely to be smaller and generally go unrecorded, thus it may be helpful to keep notes or a reflective journal which will record this very essential quality processes.
  • In a climate of increased interest in the impact of teaching it might be helpful to consider whether the purpose and outcomes of your teaching are transparent and therefore readable by relevant decision‐makers and also the wider public which may not put a high value on the study of languages and related subjects.

Professional development is a key part of maintaining and enhancing teaching quality. Below are a few strategies teachers might use for professional development:

  • consult with colleagues (share ideas)
  • carry out reciprocal peer observation
  • disseminate good practice (internally and externally)
  • attend professional development workshops
  • keep informed, e.g. in the subject, pedagogy, national/international context/policy
  • engage in reflective practice

Case study example: Language Learning

Effective language delivery through ICT, University of Leiden, Netherlands

This case study extract describes how the introduction of new teaching methods can be done incrementally through the use of pilot projects.

This collaborative project in the Netherlands piloted the setting up and use of ICT-supported language learning environments in six institutions prior to full implementation. Online tools were used to support learner autonomy. Students were encouraged to self-assess their oral skills using an online version of the European Language Portfolio. Then they were asked to practice by recording short monologues about academic topics (by using audio forums or other online tools) and making them available to the teacher, who gave written feedback. One of the results of using recorded monologues was that students appreciated this possibility for training oral skills outside classroom hours. But not all teachers decided to permanently integrate these tasks in the courses, because giving feedback was time-consuming. Teachers who decided to use the recordings chose in most cases to substitute the individual written feedback with oral, general feedback during classes.

At the end of the project the learning environments and tools were made available to all students with lessons learned, guidelines, tips & tricks made available to teachers on the project website.

Read the full case study: Download (pdf)

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

european project logos