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Designing a new service in a university language centre

Freeman K.H. Chan (English Language Centre, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong)
Alfred Lee (English Language Centre, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong)

Asian Journal on Quality

ISSN: 1598-2688

Article publication date: 23 November 2012



This paper aims to present the design of a new service in a self‐access language centre of a university in Hong Kong. A language action literacy program is being designed to promote independent learning and to support undergraduates in developing preferred qualities, including what the Kano Model would classify as excitement qualities.


Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is the decision support tool for selecting the literacy program contents to echo the Voice of Customer (VOC). The QFD exercises undertaken include: a telephone survey with 12 employers rating the importance of customer requirements; the program designers selecting program contents that match the customer requirements; determining the relationship between the customer requirements and the program contents; calculating the importance weighting of program contents; and determining the correlation between the program contents. The categorization of qualities by the Kano model is followed when discussing customer satisfaction.


Independent learning was rated as the most important of 20 customer requirements, and excitement qualities such as Critical thinking, Innovation, Creativity were rated as important. The QFD exercises led to the recommendations that seven types of literacy (e.g. Critical literacy, Activism & advocacy) and functional grammar should be prioritized as main program contents for empowering undergraduates to make an impact on a community or profession.

Research limitations/implications

Since the sample size of the importance survey was small, the new program would have to be evaluated by larger‐scale surveys after piloting.


A review of literature found no report on QFD‐based design of self‐access language centre services; this study is likely the first of its kind.



Chan, F.K.H. and Lee, A. (2012), "Designing a new service in a university language centre", Asian Journal on Quality, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 234-249.



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