ALFICan Project Researcher
Malcolm Day is a Lecturer in Adult Nursing, and PLA Advisor, in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham, England. He has published extensively on competence based assessment; work based learning, prior learning assessment ; and adult social care –
ALFICan in the Words of Malcolm Day
Malcolm was researcher to the study. He was responsible for writing and developing the research strategy and for the analysis and interpretation of benchmarking data (pages16- 41 of the final report). Malcolm also conducted a focus group with participants (pages 41-48) and advised on the structure of their case studies for the final report (pages 49 -156). He also provided a structure for, and received comments from, the peer reviewer.
The idea of benchmarking presented unique issues for the project team and for the participants, as from a primae facie point of view benchmarking can be perceived as being overly mechanistic and controlling. It was therefore important to adopt a sensitive research strategy that best complemented the needs of participant organisations as well as the rigorous requirements of HRSDC (the funding agency).
With this point in mind the methodology that was chosen for the ALFICan study was quite different to the method first described by CAEL and APQC as it uses a mix of both quantitative and qualitative methodology, and places particular emphasis on triangulating the different forms of data collected, in order to give an holistic account of the ALFI process.
For example, there was a need to be objective and transparent with benchmarking data so that a clear case could be made that participants were compliant (or non compliant) with the ALFI principles. Therefore, benchmarking data was subjected to a bivariate analysis which demonstrated the percentage of participants who were compliant with; non compliant with; or in the process of developing the ALFI principles. This data provides clear and objective outcomes for the funding agency and for future education policy makers.
However, also of significance were the challenges that each of the ALFI principles laid down for organisational development and how individual departments were responding to these. In order to capture this each case studies was structured to include an: (1) institutional profile; (2) a list of questions that were addressed during the study; and (3) lessons learned. As a consequence the case studies provide important contextual data for those interested in using ALFI within their institution.
Finally, a focus group was conducted and participants were asked to identify the factors that enhanced or inhibited the ALFI process. This data was subjected to both qualitative and quantitative analysis, which gives a clear indication of organisational strategies that may support implementation of the ALFI process at departmental level.