European Institute of Education and Social Policy
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Our Journal

You can find the  links to the most recent issues here:

Volume 53, No. 4, November 2018
Reconceptualising system transitions in education for marginalised and vulnerable groups
Guest Editors: Paul Downes, Erna Nairz‐Wirth, Jim Anderson

Volume 53, No. 3, September 2018
Learner agency at the confluence between rights-based approaches and well-being
Guest Editor: Jean Gordon

Volume 53, No. 2 June 2018
Special Issue: Are Student Assessments Fit For Their Purposes?
Guest Editor: Janet Looney

Volume 53, No. 1. March 2018
Special Issue: Innovative approaches to Continuous Professional Development in Early Childhood Education and Care. A European perspective.
Guest Editors: Brecht Peleman, Bente Jensen and Jan Peeters

Volume 52, No. 4 December 2017
Special Issue: Education for people, prosperity and planet: Can we meet the sustainability challenges?
Guest Editor: Aaron Benavot

Volume 52, No. 3 September 2017
Title: Participatory Design for (Built) Learning Environments
Guest Editors: Karen D. Könings and Susan McKenney

Volume 52, No. 2 June 2017
Title: The Influence of PISA on Education Policies
Guest Editors: Alain Michel and Xavier Pons

Volume 52, No.1 March 2017
Title : Higher education learning outcomes - transforming higher education ?
Guest Editors : Joakim Caspersen and Nicoline Frolich

Volume 51, No.4 December 2016
Title: Governance Dynamics in Complex Decentralised Education Systems
Guest Editors: Edith Hooge

Volume 51, No 3 September 2016
Title : Vocational Schooling and Social Exclusion in the Western Balkans
Guest Editors : Claire Gordon and Will Bartlett

Contact Information

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Tel.: +33 (0)1 49 23 58 30
Mobile: +33 (0) 6 38 47 68 19 


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. 

Main activities:

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.
Cedefop has published a new publication entitled 'Return to work. Work-based learning and the reintegration of unemployed adults into the labour market'. A short brief has been drafted from the full report. This study was undertaken by Ecorys UK, led by Vicki Donlevy. Jean Gordon was a member of the advisory group.
Please click here to access the conference page and here to view the presentations made by Janet Looney and Jean Gordon of the EIESP. 

Name of programme and funder:

The study was commissioned by CEDEFOP.

Expected outcomes:

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 (