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NEAS moves into online ELT quality assurance

Australian-based independent English language quality assurance provider NEAS has continued its move into the online realm, endorsing its first wholly web-based provider.

NEAS GM Ana Bratkovic, with E2Language co-founder Jarrad Merlo and NEAS chief executive Patrick PheasantNEAS GM Ana Bratkovic, with E2Language co-founder Jarrad Merlo and NEAS chief executive Patrick Pheasant. Photo: E2Language

"Of the hundreds of people we sign up every day, we very rarely get inquiries about face to face classes"

E2Language, a digital language school that delivers online test preparation, received quality assurance status after an extensive audit, which saw NEAS adapt its Quality Assurance Framework, previously used for face-to-face providers only, to the different needs and delivery models of online providers.

Patrick Pheasant, chief executive of NEAS, said the decision to move further into online providers came after the quality assurance body awarded Premium Product Endorsement to several blended and online programs offered by traditional brick-and-mortar providers.

“There’s currently no real best practice guides or quality assurance guides around what makes a good online program. It’s certainly a space we feel needs to have some support to the sector and the industry about how to do it right,” he said.

Pheasant told The PIE News that in endorsing E2Language, NEAS took into consideration what other countries were doing with online providers and best practice within the sector to then to adapt its framework.

“There’s currently no real best practice guides or quality assurance guides around what makes a good online program”

One area of difficulty, according to Pheasant, was adapting NEAS’ facilities requirements, which relates to a provider’s physical premises being appropriate for learning outcomes.

E2Language co-founder Jarrad Merlo said the decision to award his school with Quality Assurance showed an evolution in the understanding of how students are engaging with language providers, especially within test preparation.

“I don’t think people [who’ve] got an IELTS test coming up, taken it four times and need to pass no matter what… want to prepare in a classroom with 20 other people and a broadcast lecture because they’ve got a very specific need,” he said.

Instead, allowing students to focus on their needs within the context of a digital classroom and one to one tutorials meant they achieved their goals faster, Merlo told The PIE.

“Of the hundreds of people we sign up every day, we very rarely get inquiries about face to face classes. Almost all are more than happy to prepare for their exams online.”

Australia has recently released a new set of ELICOS standards requiring all providers meet minimum assessment requirements.

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