More consistent approaches to learning outcomes needed
BRUSSELS – Although a systemic approach is lacking within countries to implement approaches to learning outcomes, there is still significant progress and dedication to the process. A new proposal emphasises the need for more consistent definitions and design of learning outcomes, as well as increased cooperation and communication among stakeholders in the education sector and labour.
The European Qualifications Framework Advisory Group (EQF AG) met on 3 and 4 February 2015 to discuss the subject, as well as its priorities for the next two years, where this proposal was presented. It also addresses concerns in relation to learning outcomes approaches, such as less flexibility in education systems and teaching methods. The European Students’ Union (ESU) participates in the advisory group.
“ESU welcomes the proposal of the EQF AG and the countries’ efforts to further develop their approaches to learning outcomes. It fosters a culture for student-centered and accessibility of higher education,” says Fernando Galan Palomares, Vice-Chairperson of ESU. “Learning outcomes are a core principle for clear and transparent recognition procedures, that also introduce alternative ways to enroll in higher education.”
Defining learning outcomes
Learning outcomes form a core conceptual basis for a student-centred educational system. A description of expected or desired learning outcomes should be a statement of things that the learner is expected to know, understand and be able to do at the end of a learning process. It should not refer to input criteria, such as what is taught exactly and what teaching methods are applied. ESU believes that learning outcomes should accommodate the multiple purposes that higher education serves; including the students’ preparation for an active citizenships and for their future careers, creating a broad advanced knowledge base and stimulating research and innovation.
“We described learning outcomes as custom formulated statements that describe minimum requirements for knowledge, skills, competences and attitudes, that the student is intended to acquire during the learning activity,” Galan Palomares continues. “We included this definition in our Policy Paper on Quality Education that was adopted at ESU’s Board Meeting in December in Baku.”
The final agreement on a work programme for the implementation of learning outcomes approaches across Europe in the upcoming years will be a subject to approval at an upcoming meeting of the EQF AG in April.
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The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 39 European countries. ESU represents and promotes the educational, social, economical and cultural interests of students at the European level. Through its member unions, ESU represents over 11 million students in Europe. To find out more about ESU, follow us on Twitter @ESUtwt, check out or Facebook page or visit www.esu-online.org. ESU celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012.