Higher eduction learning outcomes: Learning outcomes transforming Higher Education? (HELO) (completed)

The primary objective of the project is to analyse how learning outcomes are understood, interpreted and practiced in varying higher education contexts, most notably across different fields of science and types of higher education institutions, and to clarify to what extent, and under what conditions, learning outcomes result in changes in administrative arrangements, or in teaching and learning activities. The project is a collaboration between NIFU (project leader), IPED, UiB and HiOA

Objectives

The primary objective of the project is to analyse how learning outcomes are understood, interpreted and practiced in varying higher education contexts, most notably across different fields of science and types of higher education institutions, and to clarify to what extent, and under what conditions, learning outcomes result in changes in administrative arrangements, or in teaching and learning activities.

The secondary objective of the project is to use these insights to contribute to the development of more sophisticated, contextualised and valid performance indicators, which convincingly reflect higher education learning outcomes.

Project summary

The project analyses higher education learning outcomes from three strands, each addressing different aspects of the phenomenon:

  1. Learning outcomes as a multifaceted tool in curriculum design, teaching, learning and assessment: To what extent and under what conditions do the actors involved experience that HELOs can be specified and operationalized in a way that provides guidance to the overall design, implementation, realisation and assessment of study programs and how is assessment information used to guide further learning and teaching?
  2. LOs and the disciplinary and stakeholder networks: To what extent and under what conditions do the actors involved perceive HELOs as challenging values, norms and standards in their discipline, subject area and profession?
  3. LOs as an ambiguous management tool: To what extent and under what conditions are HELOs used to provide assessment information and as a governing tool by those formally responsible for the study program as well as in the management of the universities and university colleges?

This design of the project thereby answers the key challenges regarding HELOs: taking a concept (LOs) which has been widely discussed by important contributors, but where the knowledge base remains fragmented and incoherent, consisting of a long line of small, narrow studies often with weak empirical foundation. By combining insights from political science, public administration theories, sociology of education and pedagogy, HELOs are explored in a cross-disciplinary and comparative approach. The project also links different types of data (by taking quantitative and qualitative approaches to HELOs) in multi-level analyses. This approach to analysis is appropriate to the topic but has also been developed with the aim of contributing to the development of performance indicators (PIs) as these are central issues in strands 1 and 3.

Financing and cooperation

The project is funded from 2012-2016 through the FINNUT program for Research and Innovation in the Educational Sector at NFR and the project owner is NIFU with IPED, UiB and HiOA. Project leader is Nicoline Frølich (NIFU)

Published Apr. 30, 2015 10:16 AM - Last modified Nov. 3, 2017 11:28 AM

Contact

E-mail: Bjørn Stensaker

Phone: +47-22844472