All higher education stakeholders nowadays acknowledge the need for well-trained, professionally acting and internationally competent panel members. This handbook focused on the aspect of training panel members well.

Abstract:The trust-building potential of external quality assurance procedures depends upon the quality and professionalism of the persons in the assessment panels. These peers, experts and students are required to be independent, competent and intercultural aware in order to ensure fair decision-making. This handbook provides all the necessary guidance for planning and managing a training event. It helps trainers through all the stages of training panel members: from deciding on the overall aim and content, over writing session aims and learning outcomes; to delivering the training and ensuring that the training is effective.

Author: KING, Gillian

Read on ECApedia: Handbook for the Training of Panel Members

Training Handbook

This handbook is aimed at any person who will be delivering training to members of expert panels. The term ‘panel member’ is used to refer to any person who will be carrying out a panel task, such as a review or audit or accreditation activity for a quality assurance agency (QA agency). In some agencies or countries those persons are referred to as ‘experts’, ‘reviewers’, ‘auditors’, ‘review/audit secretary’, etc. This handbook uses the term ‘panel members’ for all such people.

This handbook refers to ‘training event’: this is intended to include all kinds of training sessions whether they last 3 hours or 3 days.
 This handbook is not concerned with training that is primarily carried out online or remotely. It is concerned with training that is primarily delivered to participants face-to-face. A face-to-face event, however brief, has uses other than just passing on knowledge or acquisition of skills.  

It enables the trainer (who will usually be a staff member of a quality assurance or accreditation agency) to get to know the panel members who will be carrying out work for the agency in the future. It also helps participants who may work together in the future, to meet and get to know each other a little. This will help to build a community of practice amongst the panel members, which in turn will help them to support and learn from each other. Meeting face-to-face will give the trainer an opportunity to model the values and expectations of the quality assurance agency and encourage a professional attitude amongst panel members. The guidance for planning a training event given below should be helpful whatever the length of the training, whoever the participants are, and whatever the objectives of the training are. The general principles outlined below will still apply. The guidance is divided into 5 sections: deciding on the overall aim of training; deciding on content, session aims and learning outcomes; looking at the needs of participants; delivering the training; ensuring that the training is effective. A stage-by-stage summary of the main stages of the guidance may be found in the checklist in Annex 1: Stage by stage checklist of main points for training.

In each section of the guidance the trainer will be encouraged to ask some simple questions. It is important that the trainer knows the answers to these questions so that the training prepared is appropriate, relevant and effective.

Handbook chapters


King, G., 2012. Handbook for training panel members for quality assurance procedures, ECA Occassional Paper. The Hague.

Download: Handbook for the Training of Panel Members for External Quality Assurance Procedures

See also: The Training Experts Portal on the ECApedia

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