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Work tasks and Learning Outcomes give a new dimension

 


Xabier Ugarte, VET teacher, Politeknika Ikastegia Txorierri, Spain
Pernilla Öhberg, Project Manager, Elof Lindälvs gymnasium, Sweden
Debbie van Iersel, Work Package Leader for the four Technical units, Radius College, the Netherlands

 

European learning pathways are widely different. Some are based on work tasks, others on units and credit points. Common to many of them is that they are based on learning input which means that they rather focus on duration, locality and pedagogical method rather than on learning outcomes, i.e. what the learner knows and is able to do when having finished the learning pathway.

As a result, it is quite difficult for a potential employer or another education/training provider to understand what an individual is actually able to do or knows. This affects not only the individual’s opportunities to work or study in other countries, but also to apply for work in different sectors or move between different educational systems nationally.

“Working with safety systems” is a unit based on a work task and learning outcomes
In the EURIAC project, we have created four European units in automation based on real industrial work tasks and learning outcomes. The work tasks were identified through a market investigation focusing on global industry skills needs. By that, students participating in the European Class in industrial automation will not only be working on real industrial work tasks, they will also receive a Europass (sort of European CV) that states what he/she knows and is able to do in a way that makes his/her learning understandable in a greater context.

Example Unit:

 

Collaboration for success
The result of the market investigation performed in the EURIAC project together with the invaluable input from the industry partners during the process of creating the units of learning outcomes have indeed contributed and made it easier for the partners to understand the project’s challenges and dire competence needs of the industry.

- Without the industry partners’ knowledge, experience and different point of view, we could easily have ended up thinking and working ‘school wise’ with learning input, says Pernilla Öhberg, the project manager of EURIAC.


But the shift from learning input to learning outcomes was quite difficult at start. To create the necessary mutual understanding and agreement about content and terminology was indeed time consuming.

- In the Netherlands we plan training for four years and we design large tasks. When making Learning Outcomes you must think in small steps, says Ad Stam, teacher at Radius College.
- But I have really started liking this way of working. With Learning Outcomes, both teachers and students get a clear picture of what they must now on beforehand, what they will practise and what they will learn.
- I can’t use Learning Outcomes in my daily work, but I will bring in the way of thinking, says Ad Stam.
   
- It is indeed a paradigm shift when you start thinking like this, says Pernilla Öhberg, the Project Manager.