Distance Education Quality Framework

DEQF focuses on distance learning, an approach widely used during last year due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. 


Many teachers and trainers both in the cVΕΤand iVET fields (technical and professional institutes, but not only) were caught unprepared to deal with the new emergency challenge, often using the same methods (mainly of transmissive type) used in face-to-face classes. At an Italian level, the Abruzzo Regional Education Authority submitted a qualitative survey to secondary school students of the Region. It was developed by a joint committee composed of the above-mentioned Regional Education Authority and the Regional Order of Psychologists to investigate the perception that students have of distance learning. The Distance Learning methodology is a valuable teaching and training tool that, beyond the emergency linked to the pandemic, can be exploited in many other contexts such as the following:
Inability of students to attend face-to-face lessons due to force majeure (i.e. long-distance commuter students could benefit from this methodology)
Secluded areas and mountain schools - - Continuous training.
It is not random that the European Commission recently published the new Digital Educational Plan 2021-2027 which sets out new goals for distance learning that must become more “effective, inclusive and engaging”. The project follows on from the goals set out in the new digital education plan, focusing on the centrality of the student in distance learning and the teacher seen as a guide of the processes, more precisely a facilitator and resource person. In order for the students to be able to feel like a protagonist, they will have to put Long life learning skills (key competences) into play in an active learning context with particular reference to critical thinking that the project intends to develop in a quality framework on distance learning. The framework will be addressed to a target of teachers from professional schools and, in the testing phase, to students attending vocational schools (iVET) who need to develop critical thinking and digital critical thinking skills in order to be immediately ready to enter the labour market.
The Framework will be developed mainly in a transversal way to the disciplines through active modes that shall take account of the following approaches:
Problem based learning
Inquiry based learning
Problem solving
Digital critical literacy

The project can therefore be framed in the light of digital transformation, in the development of digital skills and key competences as well as aspiring to develop the teachers’ skills in this sector. The effects on the students due to the transformation of the teachers’ approaches will also be tested and have an indirect impact on their employability. Another pillar of the project will be QA which will take place through the development of a framework that takes into account the EQAVET cycle. This project is the natural continuation and complementary to the ongoing project called ILDE (Integrated Learning and Digital Evaluation) presented by the same coordinator and which intends to involve most of the partners of the mentioned project.


The new Digital Education Plan 2021-2027 was recently published by the European Commission and sets out new goals for distance education, which must become more "effective, inclusive and engaging". The DEQF project is perfectly in line with the goals identified in the aforementioned plan, since its main objective is to put the student at the center of distance learning, while redefining the role of the teacher who would become a process guide and facilitator. In a real student-centered system, where the learning process is active and dynamic, pupils have to put into play many of their Lifelong learning skills (key competencies): for example "critical thinking” that partners want to develop in a quality framework on Distance Education. The framework can be aimed at:

  • A target of teachers working in technical and vocational schools
  • Students, during the pilot activities, who are attending the same type of organizations (iVET) and who need to develop critical thinking and digital critical thinking skills in order to be immediately ready to enter the world of work.

The Framework will be mainly developed across disciplines thanks to methods based on the following approaches:

  • Problem based learning,
  • Inquiry based learning,
  • Problem solving,
  • Creativity,
  • Digital critical literacy Hackathon
  • Digital Debate.

The starting phase will be represented by the results of the monitoring analysis carried out by USR Abruzzo in collaboration with the Regional Order of Psychologists (involved in this proposal as an associated partner) to find out how the students of the target schools perceive this teaching tool. In case of approval of our proposal, this qualitative survey, revised in a transnational key, will be administered in VET schools located in the project partner countries.


The project involves the production of 3 Results:
  • Qualitative-quantitative analysis on perceived quality of Distance Learning
  • Design of the Toolkit containing tools and didactic approaches to make distance learning more inclusive and customised to the needs of the learners.
  • Drafting the Distance Learning Quality Assurance Framework
as well as a Learning and Training Activity in Austria and a local cascade training in the country-partner.
A related final report among the classes that will use the new approaches which will be selected from the groups of students who have completed the qualitative questionnaire. The RESULTS will constitute the tangible results of the project and will be exploited through the main dissemination tools and the Multiplier Events. In addition, the project partners will plan specific activities to ensure the widest sharing of the project since the start-up phase (thematic workshops with stakeholders in M1), its enhancement through dedicated moments and widespread dissemination at the end of the project.

The first RESULT will be a quantitative-qualitative analysis on Distance Learning Perceived Quality; the second RESULT will be focused on the creation of a toolkit containing dynamic and inclusive approaches and methodologies to be used in distance learning in order to develop the students’ collaborative and critical skills as well as their own digital skills. The third RESULT will concern a quality framework on distance learning aimed at students of VET paths starting from the first year following an increasing degree of difficulty, in the context of QA and with particular reference to the EQAVET cycle following the entire process through the phases of planning, implementation, evaluation and review. After having produced the first 3 project results, the project will proceed with the organization of an LTTA in Austria in which 3 people from the project staff for each partner will take part. The aim is to train them for the use of the toolkit and the quality of the framework on Distance Learning so that, once back in their country, they can organize the so-called Cascade Training in favor of 10 teachers for partners motivated to use project results. After the LTTA the project will continue with a long testing phase: about 200 students from the 6 partner countries chosen among those who initially took part in the initial survey will test the results. The last part of the project is the validation of the model and the comparative report to understand how DL, reviewed according to quality criteria, improves the learning process becoming a useful teaching tool complementary to traditional teaching. Teachers and trainers will get a wider and greater knowledge of validation processes. and recognition of learning outcomes not only in disciplines but also in distance learning; an enhanced ability to identify, monitor and evaluate the LOs.

Concerning the students, the main results are expected to be:
better ability to use digital tools
better ability to influence the validation process. of LOs in QA logic

better interaction of students with teachers in the learning process.


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Contact Person: Massimiliano Cianci

Ufficio Scolastico Regionale Abruzzo

Via dell’Arcivescovado, 8 67100 L’aquila
+390862 574201
Contact Person: Antonella Calcagni

DIMITRA Education & Consulting

Palaiologou 19, 41223, Larissa, Greece
+30 2410 554026
Contact Person: Vaso Anastasopoulou

Folkuniversitet – Uppsala

+4618680000, +4618680060
Contact Person: Ali Rashidi


Wipplingerstraße 32/23-25, 1010 Vienna, Austria
+43 1 532 45 45
Contact Person: Felix Michael Hafner


The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.