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Concept - The shift to learning outcomes - Policies and practices in Europe PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 19 March 2009 00:00

Shift to learning outcomes"The shift to learning outcomes - Policies and practices in Europe" has been published by the Cedefop in 2009 in regards to the development of EQF and ECVET.

This study addresses the shift towards learning outcomes currently taking place in European education and training policies and practices. At European level, launching the European qualifications framework (EQF) and the European credit system for vocational education and training (ECVET) has put learning outcomes firmly on the political agenda. At national level the rapid development of national qualifications frameworks (NQF) points in the same direction.

The shift to learning outcomes is important for several reasons:

  • It shifts focus from providers to users of education and training. By explaining what a learner is expected to know, understand or be able to do at the end of a learning process, individuals will be better able to see what is offered in a particular course and how this links with other courses and programmes.
    It is also an effort to increase transparency and strengthen accountability of qualifications – for the benefit of individual learners and employers.
  • It introduces a common language making it easier to address the barriers between different education and training sectors and systems. If lifelong (and lifewide) learning is to become a reality, there is an urgent need to see how learning acquired in one setting can be combined with learning acquired in another. In a situation where lifetime jobs have become exceptions and where moving between work and learning has become a significant factor in most people’s lives, learning outcomes may help to reduce barriers and build bridges.
  • It also provides an important tool for international cooperation, allowing us to focus on the profile and content of qualifications, rather than on the particularities of the institutions delivering them.

The shift to learning outcomes described in this study shows a broad consensus among policy-makers, social partners and education and training practitioners on the relevance of learning outcomes for improving access to and progression within education, training and learning.

However, more and more stakeholders warn that the learning outcomes perspective can easily be reduced to mere rhetoric having little effect on education, training and learning practises. Some go even further stating that uncritical use of the learning outcomes perspective may prove harmful and represent a distraction.

A key question asked in the study is whether increased attention to learning outcomes will make any difference at local level and to individual learners? While the learning outcomes perspective is a visible part of the overarching education and training objectives, it is not always clear how this perspective influences definition of standards and curricula, teaching and assessment practices and – eventually – individual learning conditions.


Source: The Cedefop on-line Bookshop

 

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Last Updated on Monday, 10 August 2009 21:47
 
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