For the third consecutive year, Cedefop is organising an international workshop on curriculum innovation and reform. This time the focus is on learners’ assessment.
This past summer (8 June) the European Parliament adopted a resolution, initiated by MEP Nadja Hirsch, on European cooperation in vocational education and training to support the European 2020 strategy. Looking back at almost 10 years since the launch of the Copenhagen process for better cooperation in vocational education and training (VET), the resolution called on the Member States to live up to their promises and implement the measures needed to make VET fit for the future. Among such measures, the common European tools and principles for VET play a leading role in making it easier to compare various forms of learning between countries and sectors, and allowing people to have this learning recognised across Europe. This past November, Cedefop organised two events at the European Parliament in Brussels to discuss these tools and principles: a workshop on the general impact on the tools; and a conference with the European social partners on the role of employers and workers in further developing and implementing the common tools and principles.
Success of learning outcome approaches to curricula in vocational education and training depends on design, delivery and assessment
The adoption of learning outcomes approaches in education and training is affecting the way in which curricula are designed and delivered. As Cedefop's recent Briefing Note explains, outcomes-based curricula seem to increase learner motivation, forge stronger links between theoretical and practical learning, raise participation rates and improve learners’ prospects on the labour market. But to ensure success, these curricula need to be carefully designed, delivered and assessed - a process which requires the involvement of key stakeholders and well-trained teachers.
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.
Qualifications fulfil many functions: they serve to signal an individual’s personal, social and professional status, but they also control access to education, training and the labour market. Moreover, these functions change in line with wider social changes. But how does this process take place?
Cedefop’s recent research paper, Learning outcomes approaches in VET curricula, examines how these approaches are used in curriculum development in nine European countries: Germany, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia Spain, and the UK (Scotland).