Compliance Mills are a Growing Threat to Serious Learning
We've all heard about Diploma Mills; and anyone with an ounce of integrity understands that paying money for a qualification without doing much work is unethical, and contributes nothing to learning or career outcomes.
Over recent years there has been a growing trend for once credible learning institutions to move towards becoming "Compliance Mills".
Like a Diploma Mill, a Compliance Mill is an institution that awards qualifications for something that all too often has little if anything to do with learning.
The first priority of a Compliance Mill is to comply with regulations and ensure bureacratic requirements are met by students. Essentially, if the boxes can be shown to be ticked and the paperwork is in order, the qualification is awarded. So much effort is being put into compliance, that often, attention to providing an effective learning experience is minimal.
The first priority of a Diploma Mill is to get money. Services rendered for that money will be reduced to such an extent that any real learning is again minimal.
There are, fortunately, some institutions that are neither Diploma mills or Compliance Mills.
Unfortunately, however, these learning-focussed institutions are often not always readily distinguished from the others without looking carefiully. Many of these excellent institutions work outside government accreditation systems; but so do most Diploma Mills. This can create confusion for anyone trying to decide where to study.
This situation is also complicated by the fact that Compliance Mills are sometimes supported by government bureacracies. There are some web sites that support Compliance Mills and falsely classify anything that is not "government-recognised" as a Diploma Mill. Sadly, some very good colleges can be listed as Diploma Mills and, conversely, Compliance Mills type colleges can be listed (and perceived) as being good colleges.
Sound Confusing.... it is!
What's the Solution..... There is only one way of knowing if a course is neither a Diploma Mill or Compliance Mill..... You must look closely at how long the course is, what the qualifications of teaching staff are, what the course content is; and whether it focuses more on learning rather than assessment.
These are the key indicators of quality.