Theme 2: Programme, Curriculum & Course Design

Why is the Programme, Curriculum and Course Design a precondition for a successful collaboration for institutions?

Education providers have a responsibility to develop relevant curricula and well-organized programmes, identifying learning outcomes that equip graduates with the knowledge, skills and competences that they will need in the professional, technical and occupational field they are studying for.

Rapid labour market changes mean it is essential that employers participate in programme content and design, including the identification of relevant skills and opportunities for work based learning.

It is also important that students are fundamentally involved in their educational experience, including opportunities for meaningful feedback, consultation and evaluation; and effecting change and improvement when necessary.

The multiple perspectives generated by providers, employers and students working together and sharing ideas can yield rich proposals for improving curricula and courses and developing new programmes for the benefit of the individual, society and the economy. The strategic partnership triangle is continuously engaged in systematic, meaningful conversations and the sharing of ideas and strategies with each other to enhance the quality of learning and the student experience.

Research Results

Results from our 6-country quantitative survey

Employers’ Perspective

Employers estimate that within strategic partnership with HEIs, their influence is limited to how will the tasks for work-based learning be defined in the company, and their level of influence in other processes is quite low (such as determining relevant skills for job markets) (data).

Educational Organizations’ Perspective

Research indicated that employers have highest influence on HEIs in the organization and implementation of work-based-learning in their companies (data), while they have limited influence in other processes (such as defining quality assessment of programmes and learning processes) (data, data). Still, however, employers’ influence is better ranked than students’ influence on the same processes (data), and it can be concluded that there is much space left for further improvement of involvement ofboth stakeholdersprocesses at HEIs.

Students’ Perspective

As it stands now, students have only modest influence on given processes at HEIs such as helping to organize and implement as well as define wbl at companies (to a very limited extent) (data).

What Works

Success factors and best practice for collaboration

Joint development of curriculum

Programme design works best when employers and students are structurally involved in the process of creating or updating new curricula, rather than just simply in consultation processes. Methods to do this are through the organization of regular labour-market committees, soundboards or resonance groups and the inclusion of employers and students in curriculum boards.

In the case of programmes that involve research activities or apprenticeships, employers and students should be involved in the definition of the placement or the research project from the outset.

Applied Learning with Guest Lectures from Industry

An employer sharing current knowledge and industry news with students e.g. giving workshops and demonstrations of tools to use, advising students on technologies and research that will help with work-related projects, has a number of advantages for the institution and for students.

For students, it allows them to learn from best practices in practical scenarios, and to gain insights in how life will be after graduation in their chosen professional orientation.

Teaching staff and programme managers can use such lectures to stay up-to-date with the latest practical trends and state of the art, as practiced bz industry, rather than solely as described in academic publications.

Challenge-based Learning

This is a technique whereby institutions work with sutdents to develop and deliver qualitative products aiming at a real problems faced by Companies. It involves three steps, :

  • incorproating “challenges” that companies face in their work into the teaching curriculum. Typically information on the challenges is provided by workers on the training programmes, students in practices at the workplace, from the innovation services to SMEs;
  • students working in teams to create innovative solutions to real problems faced by companies;
  • through collaborations with industry such as apprenticeships, students get a chance to test these ideas live at the workplace