A Benchmarking Exercise for Quality Blended Learning. A Challenge for European Universities in the 21st Century

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


This paper shares the experiences of 5 universities involved in a benchmarking exercise on e-learning in 2009 through ESMU. A total of 9 European universities participated in the exercise with the purpose of evaluating their existing e-learning practices and policies and getting advice on which areas to improve and how.

Initially, the paper discusses the benchmarking concept and reasons why institutions should engage in benchmarking exercises. Benchmarking is viewed as a method for quality assurance and enhancement in higher education. Self-assessment is involved at the participating institutions, which leads to a high level of awareness and understanding of existing practices and policies at different levels of the organisation. Benchmarking is thus an efficient self-improvement tool.

In chapter two, the planning of the benchmarking exercise is outlined. A combination of an individual, collaborative and expert approach to benchmarking was chosen.

Chapter three deals with the creation of the benchmarking questionnaire which was a collaborative effort between all nine participating universities, ESMU and EADTU. Taking their starting point in the online E-xellence benchmarking tool developed by EADTU, participants reformulated, deleted and added benchmarks within the following six categories: Strategic management, curriculum design, course design, course delivery, staff support and student support. An effort was made to translate the E-xellence questions to the blended learning context of the participating universities.

The internal data collection and formulation of responses are accounted for in chapter 4 which also contains reflections on the challenges and benefits of the selected approaches.

Chapter five presents the overall conclusions of the benchmarking exercise within each of the six benchmark categories.

The final chapter discusses and provides examples of how participants can use the benchmarking results to improve existing practices and policies and outlines potential external collaboration opportunities between participants.


  • Valentina Comba
  • Ebba Ossiannilsson
  • Lena Landgren
  • Rasmus Blok
  • Jose Manuel Martins Ferreira
  • Christopher Kjaer
  • Inger-Marie Christensen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Educational Sciences
  • Information Studies


  • Benchmarking, quality assurance, blended learning, eLearning, collaborative learning, European universities
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication[Host publication title missing]
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch
EventEADTU Annual Conference 2010 Strategies and business models - Zermatt, Schwitzerland
Duration: 2010 Sep 272010 Sep 29


ConferenceEADTU Annual Conference 2010 Strategies and business models

Bibliographic note

Department affilation moved from v1000887 (CED - Centre for Educational Development) to v1000942 (Division for Higher Education Development) on 2016-03-31 08:48:59.