New VET and eLearning Standard NP 4512:2012
Essen (GER), January 2013 - The Q-Cert-VET project has announced that the standard NP 4512:2012 "Vocational training management system, including technology-enhanced learning requirements" is now available after initial testing and publication. Due to approval of certification scheme OEC010 by the Portuguese Institute for Accreditation (IPAC), all certification bodies can apply to IPAC for accreditation and thus gain the ability to certify training institutions with the standard.
Furthermore, all training institutions can now request accredited certification for their management system if it has been implemented in accordance with the requirements of NP4512. "We are very satisfied with the progress of the standard and the potential it has shown in the first pilot tests," remarked Christian M. Stracke, scientific coordinator of the Q-Cert-VET project and ISO Convener of the international standard committee ISO/IEC JTC1 SC36 WG5 Quality Assurance and Descriptive Frameworks. "Thus it is with great joy that we announce its general availability to all relevant certification bodies and training institutions."
Q-Cert-VET partners in Portugal, Germany, and Romania responsible for pilot testing have been active since the beginning of the public inquiry phase last April. Pilot testing began in Portugal with the initial version of the standard in the Portuguese language, allowing for punctual testing without the need for translation. Two independent training companies in Portugal, Prisma and iZone, have been using the standard to assist in structuring their training programmes.
The Prisma Training Institute, located in Lisbon, has adopted NP 4512:2012 to its various training offers in the fields of IT and project management. iZone Knowledge Systems, also located in Lisbon, is using the standard in similar fields. Their use of the standard provided the first feedback on its practical advantages, helping to prepare the standard for its international application at Q-Cert-VET pilot-testing partners in Romania and Germany. They now await auditors to examine their implementation of NP4512 and to determine that it fulfils the prescribed requirements.
The implementation process of the Portuguese Standard NP4512:2012 at the Regional Training Centre for Local Public Administration Cluj-Napoca has been systematically and successfully carried out. Active preparations for the pilot test started in July 2012, before the Romanian version of the NP4512:2012 had been delivered and the actual implementation process could be started, the Romanian project team prepared themselves by getting familiar with ISO 9000:2005 and ISO 9001:2008. This approach was taken because CRFCAPL possessed no implemented quality- management system and thus had no experience with the terminology and requirements of such standards.
However, this lack of specific knowledge proved to be no impediment at all for the conduct of the pilot testing. According to CRFCAPL, once the project team became acquainted with the Portuguese Standard, all worries dissipated: The new standard successfully extracted the structure and requirements of ISO 9001:2008 and integrated them into the context of training institutions. Thus, most of the requirements seemed very precise and self-explanatory to the CRFCAPL team.
The more complex requirements are accompanied by notes explaining terms and statements that could give rise to uncertainties. All of these, together with the very useful annexes that add informative value to the standard, provided great help during the implementation process. As soon as the training centre concludes its preparations, auditors trained in NP4512 will investigate its implementation in the Romanian context.
In Germany, Q-Cert-VET pilot-testing partner Helliwood Media & Education is in the process of implementing NP4512 through certification scheme OEC010. Helliwood is currently identifying and defining the processes and sub-processes required for the structure of the new standard. As Helliwood had already implemented another standard, the "Quality Mark eLearning" (QSEL), a comparison of the QSEL with the NP4512 made the innovative aspects of the NP4512 standard particularly evident.
The new standard fits Helliwood's needs for eLearning very well. Their typical work processes include the development, implementation, and maintenance of professional multimedia and eLearning applications for clients and in cooperation with different partners' projects in the fields of learning and literacy, media competence, and community. As with the other pilot-testing companies, auditors trained in NP4512 will examine their implementation of the new standard to ensure that the proper steps have been taken and that Helliwood's identified work processes fit its requirements. Thus an example case for the applicability of the standard in the German national context will be established.