Constructive alignment as a tool for competence-based curriculum development - Finnish experiences

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1 Constructive alignment as a tool for competence-based curriculum development - Finnish experiences Irma Kunnari, Principal Lecturer, HAMK University of Applied Sciences & Ari Koski, Training Manager, University of Turku

2 National Project Developing a Competence-Based Curriculum for Finnish Higher Education The purpose of the project is to strengthen the competence-based approach of the Finnish higher education curricula. The project also contributes to the working life relevance into the practical curriculum and degree design. The project is aimed for: Universities Universities of Applied Sciences Target groups include: managers of higher education institutions (HEIs) deans heads of departments field-specific education and training forums between higher education institutions and working life organisations

3 Implementation training and consultation on the development of the competency-based curricula and curriculum development process evaluation and feedback on the progress of the curriculum design according to the goals of the Bologna Process general and field specific higher education forums for examining the contents and structure of the higher education degrees international networking in chosen fields to promote the European mobility in relation to the curriculum development for benchmarking the best practices seminars for the business community and social partners publications and brochures; a report for the Finnish HEIs on the alternatives of the higher education degree reform

4 Models for developing work life skills in higher education (Nykänen & Tynjälä, 2011) The aim Model Specialist model Integrative model Model of Networked Culture Structural factors WP relations taken care of by specialists Several teachers involved in workplace collaboration WP collaboration embedded in structures and curriculum Pedagogical factors Theory and practice are separated Theory and practice are integrated (to some extent) Theory and practice are merged. All parties (including teachers & WPs learn) Interrelationships between teaching, learning, guidance and student well-being Separate roles of teacher, learner, and councelor Teaching, learning and guidance become more integrated Teaching, learning, guidance and taking care of students wellbeing are merged

5 Constructive alignment as a tool for competence-based curriculum development

6 Constructive alignment in curriculum (Biggs, 1998, 2003) Constructive: Learner constructs meaning and competence through learning activities Alignment Learning actitivities, learning environment and assessment of learning must be appropriate to achieve the learning outcomes

7 How to improve constructive alignment in competence-based curriculum? Learning outcomes competence-based? Pedagogical practices and assessment? Learning environments real world & working life & learning society?

8 Example of mismatch Working community competence: Student is able to operate as a member of a work community is able to operate in communicative and interactive situations in working life is able to utilize information and communications technology in one s subject field MISMATCH MATCH The ways of learning and practices of assessment, learning environment do not match in this case? Lectures in the classroom Individual exam Should be more like this? Group work in the real life contexts, teacher as a tutor Peer assessment using ICT as a tool How about RPL? Irma Kunnari

9 Challenges in (UAS) Universities of Applied Sciences Adaptive and innovative mindset of teachers How is learning organised according to the learning outcomes? New assessments practices - How students are allowed to create evidence of their competence? Use of digital portfolio? Guidance of professional growth How is prior learning integrated and recognised? How is informal and non-formal learning recognised? Mismatc problems Team-learning and team-work- new roles needed Open knowledge practices needed

10 Challenges in universities (1/2) Competence-based thinking itself - What does it mean? Alignment (degree level vs. individual course; bachelor vs. master; learning aims vs. methods; between different studies/courses etc.) Status of bachelor degree Language of curriculum descriptions and learning outcomes Too much hidden information Too many documents for different target groups Lack of time for curriculum development

11 Challenges in universities (2/2) Working life approach: Especially generalistic disciplines (social and human sciences) Emphasis on academic/scientific skills and competencies Students don t identify competencies relevant for working life outside universities and can t articulate them to employers: What is my expertise and how it s unique? Language of curriculum, pedagogical methods and learning environments Learning outcomes of different practices with working life Due to missing working life approach: Recognition of in- or non-formal prior learning is difficult in universities

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