The competence oriented learning (CBL) and education (CBE)

The competence oriented learning (CBL) and education (CBE)

HERE Study Visit “Competence-Based Learning” was held at the FH Campus Wien University of Applied Sciences in Austria from 9 -10 of September 2019 funded by Erasmus plus Program of the European Union. The SPHERE study visit is about how competencies that are required in certain professions are learnt and taught through an approach that is called “competence-based” or “competence oriented” learning (CBL) and education (CBE), and how that would be similar to or different from other forms of academic learning and teaching based on learning outcomes.

 There were discussed: 

The strategic perspective: CBL as the foundation of an institutional teaching philosophy. Arthur Mettinger (Vice Rector Academic Affairs); The Curricular Perspective: CBL and learning outcomes. Susanna Boldrino (Head Institutional Academic Development);

CBL in Practice: Challenges, experiences, lessons learnt;

The Didactic Perspective: Preparing Teachers for CBL. Christopher Hanzl (Head Teaching Support Centre);

Learning Outcomes as a driver for international and intercultural learning. Elisabeth Brunner-Sobanski (Head International Office);

CBL as seen through Students’ Eyes.

 The event will give participants insight into institutional practice on CBL, specifically in an Austrian HEI with an applied nature. In addition to looking at the specific teaching mission and strategy of FH Campus Wien, the visit will allow participants to hear from professors of different disciplines, from students and also, potentially, to glimpse into a classroom. The visit will also explore issues regarding the interaction of the higher education institution, the higher education system and external stakeholders when it comes to CBL.

The notion of competence-based learning (CBL) has gained increasing relevance for higher education institutions and systems, particularly at a time when labour market and societal demands are changing and a number of countries face un-satisfactory levels of graduate employment. This is topical in EHEA countries, where transforming teaching and learning has gained traction in the Bologna Process, but also in other EU Partner / Neighbourhood countries, where graduate skills, labour market needs, university-business cooperation and graduate employment remain both policy and institutional challenges. In practice, CBL can have a wide range of meanings and entail a range of different pedagogical practices which may or may not be sector dependent. It often implies reforming traditional ways of teaching and engaging students and external stakeholders in close cooperation when it comes to study programme design and delivery. What is clear is that higher education institutions must assess the role that CBL has in their teaching and learning strategy and subsequently ensure that teaching staff is supported in what is often a shift in curricula design, pedagogy and assessment. The event will give participants insight into institutional practice on CBL, specifically in an Austrian HEI with an applied nature. In addition to looking at the specific teaching mission and strategy of FH Campus Wien, the visit will allow participants to hear from professors of different disciplines, from students and also, potentially, to glimpse into a classroom. The visit will also explore issues regarding the interaction of the higher education institution, the higher education system and external stakeholders when it comes to CBL. The event addresses practitioners at all levels of experience and knowledge on the issue. It will be especially relevant for higher education leadership, student HERE and QA agencies who need a better understanding of the shift to CBL and its impact on the institution and the higher education system. The study visit follows up on the 2016 Study Visit to Tallinn on student-centred learning and is also relevant to the 2017 seminar on Student Engagement (Edinburgh) and the 2018 Study Visit to LSE/King’s College on Professional Development for teaching staff.

Learning outcomes

Understand different definitions for Competency-based learning (CBL) and explore potentially different approaches for CBL in different professions and disciplines

Gain insight on what CBL may mean for the mission and strategy of an institution

Assess the role that different actors/institutional services play when it comes to CBL (leadership, deans, teaching development support services, etc.)

Explore examples of CBL in teaching practices and understand better what this means to both teachers and students

Discuss the impact of CBL on curriculum and course development, including assessment

Assess how an institution may engage with external stakeholders on CBL, such as professional/business sectors, employers, local community, civil society in general, NGOs, etc. (for developing curriculum, working together on parts of curriculum or specific courses/modules, etc.)

Background reader

Background paper 1: Competence orientated learning and teaching in European higher education

Background Paper 2 on competence in higher education learning and teaching

Pre-survey results

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