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What is Quality Learning?

Quality Learning is an approach to improving learning and the quality of school life.

It provides simple tools, methods and concepts to make classrooms and schools more efficient and effective.

Founded in the theories of Dr W Edwards Deming and others, the Quality Learning approach can be summarised as four areas that Deming called Profound Knowledge. To improve any organisation requires focusing on these four areas.

Four areas of profound knowledge
  • Systems: seeking clarity of purpose, defining excellence, focussing on stakeholders, seeing processes and identifying root causes

  • People: removing barriers to intrinsic motivation, encouraging leadership at all levels, building relationships through teamwork and cooperation

  • Knowledge: using structured improvement tools and methods, planning for improvement, the importance of theory and prediction

  • Variation: using data to drive improvement, understanding system and process variation.

While Quality Learning is particularly applicable to schools, it also has great relevance to industry and government from where it originated.

See video clips of Quality Learning in action.

Read our papers about Quality Learning.

Quality Learning can be summarised as well established and proven Principles.

You can undertake a Quality Learning School Self Assessment to explore your school's practices for their consistency with the Principles.

In a school setting, the Quality Learning approach challenges students to accept responsibility for their learning. For this to happen, teachers must assist students to become response-able, able to respond to this challenge.

David Langford and his students created a spectrum to describe this in terms of the types of relationships that might exist between teacher and student. The tools and methods of Quality Learning assist in creating a more 'enabling learning environment'.

Quality Learning is already making a substantial difference to hundreds of Australian schools.

Benefits of Quality Learning

Students enjoy:

  • improved learning outcomes
  • greater engagement
  • increased responsibility for their learning
  • better relationships with teachers and peers
  • higher levels of cooperation and trust
  • more fun learning at school

Teachers experience:

  • renewed enthusiasm for teaching
  • reduced stress
  • pleasant surprise at student learning and achievement
  • better relationships with students
  • improved teamwork with students, peers and leaders

Principals report:

  • a more calm, focused and productive environment
  • improved leadership capacity across the school
  • a focus on improvement throughout the school
  • a renewed sense of purpose with stronger goal alignment
  • greater collaboration and cooperation
  • increased parental support

Parents comment on:

  • greater confidence in the school
  • increased satisfaction with their child's learning
  • improved relationships with teachers and school leaders.

What evidence do we have that Quality Learning makes a difference?

QiS and SISP Report (2004)

In 2004, QLA commissioned a survey into the impact of the Quality in Schools (QiS) and Quality Improvement in Schools and Prechools (QISP) initiatives of 1997 to 2003. The purpose of each of these initaitives was to introduce schools to the principles and practices of Quality Learning.

Schools reported significantly positive responses in respect to the impact of the initiatives on the school overall, leadership, developing a culture of continuous improvement and continuing to apply what was learned.

Download a copy of the report. (pdf 285k)

QLA has taken the findings of this study into account in the development of our Foundations in Quality Learning seminar series.


Doctoral Research Findings (2009)

In 2009 Dr. Jane Kovacs completed her doctoral study on the impact of the Quality Learning approach on improving school performance.

Key findings of the study included:
1) a greater overall rate of improvement for student learning outcomes compared to Like schools, and
2) a significant correlation between deployment of the Quality Learning approach (self-assessment) and staff satisfaction.

Interaction Chart showing rate of overall improvement in Student Achievement performance by Quality (blue) and Like (red) schools (2003-2005).

Correlation Chart showing positive correlation between the depth of deployment of the Quality Learning approach (as measured by self-assessment) and Staff Satisfaction.

A brief paper summarising the research findings is available. Click here for a copy.

Award Winning
Quality Improvement

Quality Learning Australia congratulates all the schools and individuals recognised as recipients of the 2007 Australian Government National Awards for Quality Schooling.


Seaford 6-12 School, Adelaide, was recipient of the
Best National Achievement award for
Excellence in School Improvement (2007)
and presented with the inaugural
Medal of Distinction
as the most outstanding
Best National Achievement winner.


Mordialloc College, Melbourne, was highly commended for
Excellence in School Improvement (2007).

QLA is proud to have been supporting Seaford 6-12 School and Mordialloc College with their improvement efforts over the past ten years.

Case study videos of these schools are now available.

QLA can help you and your colleagues experience these benefits.  Contact us to explore the best options for you.

This page updated 18-Jan-2012

Site last updated 21-Feb-15
© Copyright 2015 Quality Learning Australia Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.