Harmonising Approaches to Professional Higher Education in Europe

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes refer to what a learner is expected know, understand and be able to do as the restulf of a process of learning. The core criterion for them in PHE, is that learning outcomes reflect essential knowledge, skills and attitudes related to the specific professional requirements, but should not be limited to this. In addition, students acquire professional and life skills which enable them to act successfully, in an innovative and self-organised way in a changing work environment.

The following are best practice examples of implementation of this criterion:

More subjects with learning outcomes related to entrepreneurship and soft skills development at Tallinn University of Applied Sciences

Author: Anne Kraav, Vice-Rector for Development, TTK University of Applied Sciences

The aim is that the competencies obtained by students during studies would be the competencies expected by the world of work.Each curriculum makes effort to include projects that solve real-life problems of their field (including international projects). For example: Formula student project – in the long-term project team students engineer, build and race formula car by themselves – they have high rate of independence to solve real problems and reach innovative solutions in their field.

The aim is that the competencies obtained by students during studies would be the competencies expected by the world of work.

Each curriculum makes effort to include projects that solve real-life problems of their field (including international projects). For example: Formula student project – in the long-term project team students engineer, build and race formula car by themselves – they have high rate of independence to solve real problems and reach innovative solutions in their field.

To ensure graduate success in the labour market, in addition to core subjects knowledge and skills in the field of humanities and entrepreneurship are much emphasised in addition to core subjects. Programmes at TTK University of Applied Sciences (TTK UAS) are designed to grow communication skills, the ability to work well with others, language skills, and the readiness for professional development and engineering responsibility for example. All TTK UAS curricula contain elective subjects with a value of 8 ECTS credits that develop entrepreneurial attitudes and skills. In the period 2010–14, the proportion of entrepreneurship-related subjects has grown about 30%. For example, the curriculum for Mechanical Engineering has a Humanities Module (mandatory 6 ECTS) offering courses as Basics of Science Philosophy, Client Experience, as well as English, German, and Russian language courses for business. The aim is to match the competencies obtained by the students with expectations of the world of work. They are involved in RDI activities of TKK faculties, e.g. through contract work on the one hand and graduation theses and course papers on the other.

Co-makership at Hanze University of Applied Sciences: Innovation labs on Healthy Ageing

Healthy Ageing has been a strategic theme for Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen for years. In 2013, this resulted in the Centre of Expertise Healthy Ageing with a network of 35 partners. A public-private network organisation which aims at innovations in health care, it has now grown into an innovation platform with more than 140 active partners: educational institutions, health care organisations, small and large companies, municipalities, and partner organisations all collaborate in the Centre of Expertise. Innovation and co-makership is achieved through innovation labs. These are networks of different partners within the organisation that function as testing grounds in which researchers, students, teachers, and professionals from industry work together on finding solutions to problems that occur daily in health care. Projects and research often begin with questions from the professional practice. These questions are combined and discussed by the partners in the innovation lab. Teacher-researchers, students [AT1] and experts from the professional practice will start working on these in co-makership. What is important here is open innovation, and together arriving at a solution which is feasible in practice. Students participate in the research as part of their internship or in the frame of a talent track (Hanze UAS offers honours programme in different forms posing higher learning requirements than their regular Bachelor’s programmes).

Take the lab Clinical Malnutrition. Malnutrition is a serious, comprehensive and growing problem in healthcare, especially for hospital patients.  The key question in the innovation lab ‘Clinical Malnutrition’ is: how can professionals – especially dieticians, physiotherapists and nurses/carers – improve the quality of life for people who suffer (or are in danger of suffering) from malnutrition with diet and exercise?

Hanze’s partners in this lab are the University Medical Centre Groningen, Ordina (IT), Friesland Campina (dairy industry), and MediqTefa (medical nutrition).  The lab was launched in july 2013 and they soon had their first result: an international app that can detect, determine and monitor clinical malnutrition in hospital patients, based on, among other things, weight changes, bodily fluids, physical activity and the intake of food. All partners have an interest in the innovation lab, and together they determine the course for further solutions. Students that are involved can come from a range of programmes. In this particular lab, two students, one studying Human Technology, the other Nutrition and Dietetics wrote their bachelor thesis on their lab research into developing a toolkit to fight malnutrition. Hanze UAS actually awarded the students the Hannie Schaft prize, a recognition of the best bachelor thesis with high social engagement.

All innovation labs have a strong practical character, shared ownership and involvement, and are physically close to health care institutions. Each lab has a clear theme and focuses on sustainability and continuity. Themes range from Active Ageing for the Elderly, E-Health and Serious Gaming and Labour and Healthy Ageing  to Exercise-friendly Environment Public Spaces and Work Innovations in the care sector. Hanze UAS is the secretary of the Centre of Expertise Healthy Ageing and responsible for the progression of the projects, connection, dissemination of knowledge and distribution of subsidies.

Hanze University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands

Hanze UAS is a large public PHE institution in Groningen, northern Netherlands. with 17 schools, 27.000 students and 3000 staff. In Hanze’s portfolio are BA and MA programmes (EQF6 and 7 respectively) offered in Dutch, German and English. Six centres of applied research and innovation are run, which are run as multidisciplinary collaborations between professorships and education.

From learning goals to assessment to evaluation – A clearly defined process at ZSEM in Croatia

At Zagreb school of economics and management student learning goals and objectives are well-defined in order to integrate mission and learning process. The faculty has a central role in the process of describing the skills, values and knowledge they expect as outcome of the teaching process. The learning goals are a roadmap for the curriculum and the basis for the assessment. The latter is also a central process for linking the mission, learning goals and learning outcomes achieved by the students. At ZSEM it encompasses the following steps:

  • alignment of the curriculum to defined learning goals;
  • identification of instruments and measures for assessment; and
  • collection, analysis and dissemination of the assessment data.

When the assessment data of the student learning outcomes has been collected and analysed, the results are used for continuous improvement and results in revisions of the school’s curriculum.

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