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Quality Charter for SALTO Inclusion training

SALTO Inclusion's commitment to delivering Quality Courses. A few principles to ensure quality - for inspiration...

The SALTO Inclusion Resource Centre has been organising many training courses over the past years. At evaluation meetings we came across some organisational and educational principles that contributed to the success of our courses - a sort of vision of an ideal training course that SALTO Inclusion is striving towards.

We thought it could be useful to share these principles of quality, not as an exclusive recipe, but rather as a quality checklist that any training organiser could use (and add to!) to reflect on what makes a training course a quality event. And even if you don't agree, this charter at least has the merit to make you conscious about the reasons why you do things differently.

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Before the course (Preparation/ Recruitment/ Selection)

Course Concept/Description

  • Has been developed together with the stakeholders (e.g. young people, Youth Workers, Trainers, SALTO, NA/NC,...)
  • Includes all necessary and complete information (e.g. dates, venue, aims and objectives, target group, draft programme, methodology, trainers team, costs, working language, application procedure, selection criteria, deadlines,...)

Application Form

  • Has been developed taking into consideration the future needs of the course organisers (e.g. special needs, emergency contacts, address list details, use of pictures, disclaimers,...)
  • Includes enough information to check the selection criteria established beforehand
  • Ask for a little description of the supporting/sending organisation (e.g. to be included in the address list or prepare a catalogue of participants)
  • Includes pre-course questions similar to the post-course questionnaire (to measure the evolution before and after the course)
  • Includes some 'commitment' questions which set out the frame of co-operation with participants should they be selected (e.g. participate in the evaluation etc.)
  • Asks for information about the training need of candidates and how they intend to use the knowledge & skills gained at the course
  • Include a question about the support from the organisation to do something with the course (green light from organisation)

Deadlines

  • The Course description and application form are available minimun 3 months before the course (in the ideal case ;-)
  • Deadline for candidates to send in their applications are maximum 1.5 months before the starting of the course

Selection process

  • Pre-selection criteria are clearly stated in the course description and are transparent to all parties involved
  • Selection of candidates is done by a team of at least 2 people involved in establishing aims, objectives and target group

Selection feedback

  • Is sent to all candidates informing about selection, rejection or waiting list.
  • (for selected participants) Includes detailed information about practicalities to allow for arranging practicalities
  • (for rejected candidates) Includes reference to selection criteria and explains why someone is not selected
  • (for the waiting list) Includes reference to selection criteria and deadline for last call in case of selection

Information

  • Detailed information about preparation requirements should be sent to selected participants and to the National Agencies and/or sending organisations
  • Selected participants should receive sufficient information to feel informed about what is going to happen during the course

Preparation

  • There should be sufficient preparation before the course takes place (e.g. SALTO Inclusion usually has 2 prep meetings of 2 days for a new course)
  • Preparatory meetings are attended by the organisers (e.g. SALTO, NA, NGO, etc), at least 1 person from hosting organisation and all trainers involved

Course Programme (Content/Methods/Way of Working)

The Methods

  • Are developed to reach the aims and desired outcomes
  • Are adapted to the number of training days
  • Stimulate participants' own creativity and initiative
  • The trainers know why they use the different methods and are transparent about this towards the participants (before, during or after the methods in question)

Flexibility & Adaptation

  • The programme is flexible and adapted to the participants (e.g. knowledge, background, experience...)
  • The programme contains a variety of methods (e.g. cognitive, visual, active,...) to address different learning needs and styles

Continuous feedback

  • The programme contains continuous feedback from participants to the team during the course
  • The team adapts the programme according to the feedback within the frame of the course (aims, desired outcomes)

Length of the course

  • The number of training days is realistically adapted to the aims and desired outcomes.

Group as a resource

  • The programme uses the potential of the group during the course (skills, experience, knowledge,...)
  • The programme gives an active role to the participants (e.g. in leading working groups, setting up projects, discussions, running parts of the programme such as energisers or workshops,...)

Sharing and self-reflection

  • The programme provides slow-time to participants in which they can have an in-depth look at their current practices, needs and developments
  • The programme provide quality time for introspection and reflection.
  • The programme give participants time and space to explore new ideas/skills/knowledge in a structured way
  • The programme challenges the participants' concepts and provokes them in a safe frame

Diversity & Intercultural learning

  • The programme is based on diversity (present in the group of participants and trainers team)
  • The programme aims at understanding diversity and not preaching 'one right way'
  • The course stimulates tolerance and interactions between people from different cultures/realities

Ownership

  • The course organiser stimulate 'ownership' of the programme by the different stakeholders involved (NA, Trainers, SALTO,...)

Support (Trainers/ Staff/ Logistics/ Practicalities)

Trainers Team

  • Selection criteria for the trainers are transparent.
  • The trainer team is diverse (different backgrounds, different countries, gender balance) and the trainers are complementary to each other
  • In the trainer team there is expertise about the topics and target group of the course
  • The trainers are experienced in international/intercultural educational processes
  • Clear division of tasks or way of working is agreed in the team
  • The trainers are open for feedback from participants and the training organisers and can modify the programme accordingly
  • The trainers are available for the participants in the social time
  • The trainers have moments of personal time-out (evenings, single rooms etc)
  • The number of the trainers is adapted to the difficulty of the course, the need of expertise for the course and the number of the participants
  • There is transparency and fairness in the trainers' fees

Special needs

  • Participation of participants with special needs (e.g. disability) is possible (e.g. accessible seminar house, budget for personal assistants, special meals,...).
  • This policy is made clear in the course description.

Support material

  • There is appropriate material to support the diverse methodology (paper, pens, boards, computer, internet, projectors,...).

Logistic support

  • There is a support person available during the whole course for practicalities

Training organisers

  • The training organiser assists in the coordination of the trainer team, on the content and practical level, for group dynamics in the team, etc.
  • The training organisers create stimulating environment for the trainers (e.g. team office, material support, encouragement, etc)
  • The training organisers address the physical and mental needs of the participants in a learning situation (e.g. free time, ice-breaking, feel-good moments, coffee breaks,...)

Learning conditions

  • Stimulating learning conditions are created within the programme (e.g. diverse and active working methods, visual supports during inputs, handouts/ flipcharts, variety of speakers, etc)
  • Conditions for participants (and team) to focus on the course/learning are created (e.g. require 100% participation, gsm-free, no distractions during programme, etc)
  • The activity also includes fun-moments during and after the work.

Product and process

  • Product and process are balanced, the course not only focus on the aims & outcomes but also give attention to a supportive working atmosphere and the value of group dynamics / process

Follow-Up/ Evaluation/ Multiplying

Evaluation

  • Desired outcomes and quality indicators are clear before the seminar and entail both quantitative and qualitative indicators
  • Impact indicators go further than only the course related outcomes, they also measure impact on changed attitudes, working practices, etc
  • The effects are evaluated in a longer term perspective (e.g. follow-up questionnaires)

Follow-up

  • The training organisers enable and stimulate participants and team to continue to network after the course (e.g. setting up mailing lists, chats,...)

Documentation

  • Detailed user-friendly course documentation is provided after the course (e.g. within a few months after)
  • Documentation is spread to a wider audience than only the participants of the course (e.g. SALTO toolbox, NAs, COM, etc)

This charter is a guideline for attaining and assessing quality and does not bind SALTO legally.

Comments - Add your comment!

Tony Geudens, 16.08.07 15:10

Visibility is the key to change

it is only when a course concept or approach is made transparent, that there is the possibility to comment and improve on it

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