The application of learning outcomes approaches across Europe – a comparative perspective (2013 - 2015)
Type of project/activity:
This study was commissioned by CEDEFOP to examine the application of learning outcomes in education and training systems in 33 countries in Europe. It builds on the earlier study The Shift to Learning Outcomes.
Coordinator: The study was led by ECORYS Poland and the team leader was Mr Jerzy Wisniewski.
Senior experts: Jean Gordon, Janet Looney and Alain Michel (EIESP, France), Gabor Halasz (ELTE University, Hungary)
The team was supported by an advisory panel and country experts.
This study was designed to respond to two key questions:
- To what extent and how is the shift to learning outcomes influencing education and training policies at national level?
- To what extent and how is the political priority given to learning outcomes influencing the institutions and practices of teaching and training professionals?
European countries are frequently undertaking major efforts to reform their (formal) education systems with a view to modernising the curriculum and further developing the implementation of key competences, making better use of resources, making the teaching profession more attractive, reviewing governance and quality issues, etc. Learning outcomes play an important role within these strategic trends, not only as part of curriculum reform, but also across the whole system. Learning outcomes policies are particularly difficult to implement because they imply significant changes in the behaviour of individuals and institutions. For some individuals, they may also require a change in beliefs about who can succeed, as the focus of education is now on helping diverse learners to achieve high outcomes. Identifying learning outcomes for all phases of teaching a course and adapting materials also increase complexity at school and classroom level (e.g. through student-centred learning pedagogy, team teaching and the systematic and interlinked continuing professional development of teaching staff, education managers and inspectors). Hence there are critical issues for overall policy and strategy of systems, governance and the tricky business of the "implementation science".
A first analysis of national policy trends in the shift to learning outcomes in vocational education and training (VET) systems as well as school education and higher education was undertaken in the period 2007-2008 and published by Cedefop in 2009 This analysis underlined the complex conceptual, technical and practical nature of the shift to learning outcomes, and concluded that while the shift was well under-way in vocational as well as in higher education, this was the case for general and in particular upper-secondary general education to a lesser extent. The report also noted that the necessary policy and strategy changes concerning assessment and teaching and training practices were being made more slowly than those directed towards the design of qualification levels and standards, as well as courses and curricula.
This study will collect data from 33 countries through desk research and interviews with selected informants and will then undertake case studies focusing on if and how a learning outcomes approach is influencing the institutions and practices of teaching and training professionals.
Name of programme and funder:
The study was commissioned by CEDEFOP.
The study started in November 2013 and data collection will start in early 2014. The final report was made available during 2015.
To dowload the report Click here
For more information contact Ms. Janet Looney of the EIESP (firstname.lastname@example.org)