Indicating Training Quality to Learners

What to know

  • Quality indicators are features of a training or training listing that can indicate to learners that the training is high quality.
  • Indicators of quality include competencies, learning objectives, continuing education, publication date, learner feedback, and validation a quality review was conducted.


You can use quality indicators to give learners information that helps them decide if a training is worth their time or meets their needs. The absence of a quality indicator on a training listing does not mean it is not a quality training, but including the quality indicators provides helpful information. Training developers should consider including these indicators wherever their training is listed (such as a website or learning management system). For example, NNPHI's Quality Standards for Training Design and Delivery describes key details that should be readily available.

Competencies and learning objectives

Quality trainings support specific competencies and help learners achieve specific learning objectives. Competencies are skills, knowledge, and abilities critical to performing effectively and efficiently in a professional practice area. Learning objectives should describe what the learner will know, understand, or do by the end of the training. These help learners know if your training was designed to teach what they want or need to learn. The inclusion of competencies and learning objectives helps you, as the training developer, prioritize content and teaching methods to ensure that you are addressing your training goal.


In the TRAIN Learning Network, a shared learning management system available to public health professionals, course providers can select relevant competencies from a drop-down menu to apply to their course listing. Learners can search for courses that meet particular competencies as one way to find courses that may meet their needs.

Content owner or subject matter expert

The content owner or subject matter expert can be an indicator of reliable and accurate content. Those responsible for the content should be clearly indicated. If the training is a result of a partnership, share information about the partner organization(s) involved in content development or review.

Some organizations that provide training content:

  • require an extensive review and clearance process to ensure accuracy before sharing the training publicly (such as federal government agencies).
  • require that qualified subject matter experts are involved in the teaching/training of others for a degree or certification (such as universities).
  • may be known for their expertise in a specific topic area (like the American Diabetes Association, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Global Lyme Alliance)

When relying on subject matter experts, it is essential that they are known for their reliable expertise and education in a specific topic area.

Continuing education

If your training offers continuing education credits, hours, or units, make it easy for learners to find this information. Public health and health care professionals take accredited trainings to maintain their licenses and certifications. Trainings are accredited by meeting standards determined by accrediting organizations (for example, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education). Although there are differences in the standards across accreditation types, any accredited training must meet a series of standards for quality training development. The accreditation process should begin when you are designing your training.

Publication or review date

The date of publication and date of review can also serve as indicators of quality for learners by providing information about relevance and a commitment to maintenance. Provide the date when the training was published and plan for an expiration date for reviewing your training content. When your review is complete and any necessary updates have been made, provide the training review date. The review date helps learners know that all the course content within a training is up-to-date, accessible, and relevant.

Learner feedback

Feedback from learners is another indicator of quality. Some learning management systems and training curation websites allow you to share learners' ratings or comments. Use a system that makes it easy for learners to share their feedback. If you are not able to do this, consider other ways to share learner testimonials or evaluation data.


The TRAIN Learning Network, a shared learning management system available to public health professionals, provides a 5-star rating scale that gives a sense of learners' satisfaction with the training.

Developer-reviewed indicator

Information about the process a training developer used can be an indicator of quality.


The CDC Quality Training Standards icon is one indicator of quality used on websites and in some learning management systems (like the TRAIN Learning Network). Course providers can list their trainings in TRAIN at no cost and will be presented with a set of questions based on the CDC's Quality Training Standards. If all standards have been met, the icon will appear beside the training in the search results and on the training's description page.

Expert-reviewed indicator

Another quality indicator is if a training expert reviewed the training.


The Quality Matters (QM) certification process provides an expert review of trainings. A QM-Certified Course is an online or blended course that has met QM Standards as part of an Official Course Review. Once certified, organizations can display the QM Certification Mark. A training developer must be a member of Quality Matters to submit a course to the Course Review Management System (CRMS) to start the review process.

Peer-reviewed indicator

Another indicator of quality is if a training has been peer-reviewed.


The Public Health Learning Navigator seal indicates that an online training has been peer-reviewed and scored to meet the standards of the Public Health Learning Navigator. A training developer can get a seal by nominating an online, asynchronous training for review through the Public Health Learning Navigator. A nominated training is sent to three external peer reviewers. The reviewers assess each training in accordance with the Quality Standards for Training Design and Delivery Reviewer Tool. Trainings that successfully complete the peer-review process will be included on the Public Health Learning Navigator site. Training developers will be provided the seal to display on the training, their training landing page, and other locations that provide information about the course.