An international standard for e-learning courses could drive up the quality of work-based training for IT professionals.
The standard - ISO/IEC 19796-1:2005, created by standards body ISO and the International Engineering Consortium - will make it easier for employers to compare the quality of e-learning courses from different suppliers.
"It is currently difficulty for purchasers of IT training and end-users to understand and compare between the different quality marks," said Patrick Towell, marketing co-chairman of the committee that drew up the standard.
ISO/IEC 19796-1 is an attempt to harmonise the various standards and quality measures that are drawn up to cover e-learning in different parts of the world.
"Over the next few years, what we expect to see is a vastly increased amount of adherence to quality standards for e-learning," said Towell.
This marked a "change of emphasis" towards ensuring employers and end-users received quality education rather than considering only the technical aspects of e-learning delivery, he added.
At present, e-learning is covered by a variety of standards, quality marks and other initiatives from government and trade bodies in the UK, Europe, North America and other parts of the world.
The new standard served to pull these different approaches together in a common framework, said Towell.
"By having comparable and commonly understood requirements and criteria, there will be a better match between the needs of users, purchasers and providers."
The framework could also be used by companies' training departments to design an e-learning initiative for their staff, he added.