Providers and partners

Answers to questions from consultation

What does the updated definition mean for learning activities and learning hours?

It is expected that the sum of all learning activities in an approved programme will continue to approximate to the total learning hours of the programme. One credit remains equivalent to ten notional learning hours.

Hence, a 120-credit full time/year programme continues to equate to 1200 hours of notional learning activities. 

What does planned learning mean in the context of the updated definition?

The updated definition requires TEOs to specify the learning activities that make up the programme.

Detail of these learning activities will be required for programme approval, in the programme information provided to learners, and in the evidence of these activities required for NZQA and TEC compliance purposes.

Does the updated definition remove self-directed learning (including research) from learning?

No. Self-directed learning is a learning activity. TEOs will be required to include all the learning activities that make up self-directed learning (e.g. in the course handbook). The updated definition reflects that even self-directed learning is guided or planned to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the level of study. TEOs must be confident that self-directed learning contributes to the overall cohesive programme of learning.

At lower levels, self-directed learning activities should be guided or planned to better ensure the learning complements the directed learning activities and contributes to assessment. At higher levels, even independent self-directed learning activities, such as reading and research, will be informed by the programmes’ learning outcomes and the graduate profile of the qualification.

Does specifying learning activities mean that a TEO is not able to respond flexibly to their learners’ needs?

No. TEOs will still be able to respond flexibly to their learners’ needs and deliver programmes tailored to particular cohorts or incorporating improvements.

Information required for programme approval can be at a high level. It is expected that the range of learning activities will be explained in further detail in the learner handbook, provided by TEOs, and at the time of enrolment.

It is this detail and the corresponding evidence that will be required by NZQA evaluators and TEC auditors when visiting TEOs.  

Does the updated definition have any effect on education delivery in Māori contexts?

No. There is no effect on Māori education delivery and the incorporation of Māori approaches to ako. Nor does it mean that kaiako are locked into a particular schedule. Wānanga, for example, remain able to deliver programmes according to āhuatanga Māori and tikanga Māori.

This means that the inclusion of learning activities, such as noho mārae, as a part of programmes remains unaffected.

The updated definition will require that these activities are outlined for programme approval, and appropriately evidenced for evaluation and audit.

What does the updated definition mean for in-work based learning?

The definition applies to programmes of study with work-based/in-work components delivered by TEOs. Industry training programmes are not affected.

TEOs will be required to outline the work-based activity in their programme application, with the detail recorded and evidenced by the TEO for evaluation and audit purposes.

What is the scope of the definition in terms of programme approval?

The definition applies to all programmes leading to NZQA approved qualifications. That is, all qualifications on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework quality assured by NZQA.

The definition also applies to work-based/in-work based programmes leading to qualifications. For example, a 12 hours work based activity in a programme application with the detail being recorded by the TEO in their records.

What is the scope of the definition in terms of evidence for NZQA and TEC compliance processes?

All TEOs will be required to detail all the elements that make up learning, and to keep evidence of it.

What evidence will a TEO need to provide to NZQA and TEC?

TEOs will be expected to evidence all the learning activities that make up the total learning hours of a programme. For many TEOs, who already provide these details and evidence, the updated definition will mean little change to current systems and processes.

What information will a learner need?

Learners need to know the activities that will be expected of them if they enrol in a programme. All TEOs would be expected to provide information to learners that outline the learning activities and the method(s) of assessment. The hours of the learning activities should approximately match the total learning hours of the programme.

What information will be required for programme approval and accreditation?

A description of the key learning activities (e.g. online integrated activities, external speakers) that make up the total learning hours to justify the credit value of the programme and how these map to the learning outcomes and assessment.

What information will be required for type 2 programme changes?

The same level of information that is expected for programme approval and accreditation.

What about programme delivery for international students?

The programme delivery requirements for international students is not affected by the updated definition. For example, where programmes or English language courses include 20 hours of face to face contact time over 5 days/week, the 20 hours (and the remaining learning hours making up the total learning hours of the programme) will need to be broken down into learning activities.

NZQA continues to require that TEOs with international students are code signatories, and expects TEOs to structure their programmes (including those in compressed format) to maximise educational value and to deliver programmes in a way that provides students the best chance of education success.

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