Internal Quality Management: Evaluating and Improving Competence-based Higher Education – IQM

ENQA was involved as a partner in the Erasmus+ project “Internal Quality Management: Evaluating and Improving Competence-based Higher Education” (IQM) coordinated by the University of Veterinary Medicine, Austria. The project had received funding under the Key Action 2: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices sub-programme.


1 September 2015 to 31 August 2018 (36 months)


The partnership of the project involved the University of Veterinary Medicine, Austria (Vetmeduni Vienna) as the coordinator, University of Oldenburg, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, University of Ljubljana, Vilnius University, the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE), the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ Austria), Vienna University of Economics and Business – QM Unit, University of Vienna – Unit for applied psychology in education and evaluation and ENQA.


Two topics have become prevalent in the European Higher Education Area in recent years, triggered by the Bologna Process. The first topic is competence-based higher education. The focus now is more on students and their competences and less on teachers and the knowledge they impart. This has resulted in a fundamental shift in higher education as new curricula, teaching methods, exam formats, and learning strategies are implemented. The second topic is quality. The quality and efficiency of European education systems are fostered by different strategies like the ‘Standards and Guidelines for Quality Management in European Higher Education Institutions’ (ESG, 2015) or the EU programme Erasmus+.

As a consequence, many higher education institutions are now looking for new quality management procedures that address students’ competences as well as the competence-based teaching and learning process. The Project ‘Internal Quality Management: Evaluating and Improving Competence-Based Higher Education’ took up the need for a new procedure. We developed a procedure that is primarily designed for internal quality management at higher education institutions and can be undertaken by internal evaluators or quality managers.

Our project had three objectives:

  1. We developed a new quality management procedure and a corresponding toolkit to help higher education institutions implement the new procedure. The toolkit is called ‘European Toolkit for Internal Quality Management in Competence-Based Higher Education’.
  2. We implemented and tested the new procedure and the European Toolkit in five higher education institutions.
  3. We disseminated the European Toolkit to European higher education institutions.

The project had three main results. The first result was the European Toolkit, which includes many tools:

  • A handbook on how to implement internal quality management for competence-based teaching and learning.
  • Information material for decision-makers, students, faculty members, etc.
  • Workshop ideas
  • Templates for questionnaires
  • Template for a report
  • Collection of possible measures for quality enhancement and quality assurance
  • and many more

The second result was the implementation of the new procedure in five higher education institutions as well as experience and lessons learned. The third result was the wide range of dissemination activities and products. The most important dissemination product was the project website, where the toolkit, as well as the implementation partners’ experience, is freely available.

The project greatly impacted the project participants (e.g. they were able to integrate different perspectives on quality management and now have an expert network) and the participating organizations (e.g. they were able to implement a new quality management procedure), as well as the ultimate target group, which are European institutions of higher education who received information on the project and its results (via the website, newsletters, conference talks, workshops, etc.).

Due to a long list of implementation and dissemination actions within the project, we expect to see longer-term benefits of our project: The European Toolkit provides a helpful puzzle piece for enhancing the quality and efficiency of European higher education institutions.

More information is available on the project website.

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