NOTE: This blog post is based on a presentation made at the online BUKA development meeting for BUKA project teams held on 25 November 2021.
The Maturity Model for Blended Education was created in collaboration with six European universities and universities of applied sciences. The model is a practical and easily approachable tool for developing education on three levels: course level, degree program level, and institution level.
The European Maturity Model for Blended Education (Van Valkenburg et al. 2020) was developed in 2017–2020 in an international Erasmus project carrying the same name as the main output of the project: European Maturity Model for BlendedEducation. Project partners and the authors of the maturity modelrepresent well-established European open universities: TU Delft from the Netherlands, KU Leuven from Belgium, Aarhus University from Denmark, Dublin City University from Ireland, University of Edinburgh from Scotland, and Tampere University of Applied Sciences.
Background for the Maturity Model
The research behind the model was carried out using the Delphi method: the research phase included three rounds of Delphisurveys at the participating universities. The model was compiled in its final form by TU Delft.
The model is a practical and easily approachable tool for developing education on three levels: course level, degree program level, and institution level. The model is not designed for comparing the performance of different universities, but rathersupporting internally development processes of universities.
Maturity and Quality of Blended Education
The model makes a distinction between maturity and quality, although the concepts are related to each other. Maturity is understood in the model as a broad concept, within which quality can be realized in different ways. The Maturity Model does not represent a new or a competing quality framework for higher education institutions, and it takes into consideration that universities usually have their own quality criteria frameworks. Maturity and quality are defined in the model as follows:
“The concept of ‘maturity’ relates to the degree of formality and optimization of the design, evidence-based decision making, documentation and continuous quality improvement which characterize the uptake of blended learning practices, or the implementation of blended learning conditions and strategies.” (Van Valkenburg et al. 2020, 5).
Quality vs. Maturity
“Quality approaches can be in place within each of the maturity levels. However, maturity does not equal quality. Moreover, it has been observed that repeated blended learning practice at a particular maturity level does not result in an actual increase in maturity.” (Van Valkenburg et al. 2020, 5).
Application of the Model
The European Maturity Model for Blended Education is dividedinto three parts: Course level, Degree program level, and Institute level. When applying the model, the actors should first consider,on which level they intend to focus their development activities.
In the model, the course level includes four main dimensions:1. Course interaction2. Course experience3. Course design process4. Course flexibility
The Course experience and the Course design Process are further subdivided in the model.
According to the Model, the maturity of degree programs can beassessed in three dimensions:1. Program flexibility2. Program experience3. Program design process
Two dimensions: the Program design process and the Programexperience are further divided into sub-dimensions.
On the level of the educational institution, the Model includes eight dimensions which do not have sub-dimensions:1. Facilities2. Finances3. Governance4. Quality assurance5. Institutional support6. Institutional strategy7. Sharing and communities8. Professional development
Applicability of the Model
The European Maturity Model for Blended Education was created before the Covid-19 pandemic times. Although it was designed to be applied particularly for blended learning, it fits perfectly also for hybrid learning, as the model itself is presented on a rathergeneral level.
The model is easily approachable. Probably the easiest way to take the model into use is to assemble a team, and then present theappropriate part of the model on the screen, one dimension or subdimension at a time. It is usually sufficient to discuss only 1 to 3 dimensions during a team session. According to our experience, even reflecting openly just one dimension during a discussion session can bring up several concrete and fruitful ideas for developing the blended and hybrid learning in your educational institution.
EADTU (2020). European Association of Distance TeachingUniversities. https://eadtu.eu
Van Valkenburg, W., Dijkstra, W., de los Arcos, B., & Goeman, K. (2020). European Maturity Model for Blended Education. https://lirias.kuleuven.be/retrieve/566442