New ideas on teaching and learning are influencing the way in which curricula are drawn; at the same time, changes in curriculum organisation are affecting teaching and learning patterns at all educational levels. This dynamic was the main topic of discussion at a recent Cedefop workshop on Curriculum innovation and reform: policies and practices
(Thessaloniki, 9-10 November).
Learning is no longer being judged only by inputs venue, duration etc. but also by outcomes: what the learner knows and is able to do. But this seemingly simple conceptual change is difficult to implement. As the workshop showed, new way of evaluating knowledge, skills and competence affects everything from assessment methods to teacher training to educational content.
The workshop opened with a presentation and discussion of Cedefops upcoming study, Exploring the relationship between learning outcomes and VET curricula, followed by an in-depth examination of four topics:
- How do countries understand the learning outcomes approach and what is the role of such approaches in reforming curricula?
- How are curricula developed and what role do social partners play? Has the outcomes approach affected curriculum development, and how?
- What changes are needed to support curriculum change (including teacher training)?
- What are the implications for teaching methods and assessment procedures?
Participants came from Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain and the United States, as well as from the European Commission, the World Bank, the OECD-CERI (Centre for Educational Research and Innovation) and UNESCO-IBE (International Bureau of Education.
All contributed to the lively discussions on the interaction between curricular reform and outcomes-oriented approaches, highlighted innovative examples of this interaction, and identified new lines for research.