Learning outcomes-based curricula are meant to be holistic, flexible, motivating and inclusive both for teachers and learners. But if they are to be successful, teachers must be properly trained, leaning environments must be properly designed and learning outcomes must be carefully defined and assessed. Nor should reforms focus too much on outcomes: learning inputs and pedagogical processes should not be neglected when developing VET curricula. These were among the topics discussed at a recent Cedefop workshop.

Open debate in the ‘World Café’ model was a distinguishing feature of Cedefop 2nd International Workshop on Curriculum Innovation and Reform that took place on 20-21 January in Thessaloniki.

Participants discussed current developments in the entire cycle of curriculum development - from design to delivery to learners’ assessment. The focus was on how learning outcome-based approaches to curricula affect the learning process, and on what benefits they bring for learners.

Irene Psifidou, Cedefop, Renato Opertti, IBE-UNESCO, David Istance, OECD
Irene Psifidou, Cedefop, Renato Opertti,
IBE-UNESCO, David Istance, OECD

Four World Café sessions were set up, centred on the following questions:
  • How does the emphasis on learning outcomes in curriculum policies change the role curricula can play in education and training – and how?
  • To what extent do learning outcome approaches put learners at the centre of the learning process, and make learning more inclusive?
  • How do current curriculum and assessment policies allow vocational training to fulfil its dual role: helping learners to become more competitive in the labour market, while ensuring social inclusion for disadvantaged groups?
  • Is there any evidence to suggest that learners actually benefit from these new approaches?

The discussions among 45 senior experts - policy-makers, researchers and practitioners - from more than 20 European countries adopted a global perspective, bringing experience from Europe, Latin America, Asia, South Africa and Australia into play.