A Quiet Rev­o­lu­tion in Ed­u­ca­tion

The Jakarta Post - Magazine - - Education Supplement -

The days are dis­ap­pear­ing when we, as pro­fes­sors at uni­ver­si­ties, pro­vide lots of new in­for­ma­tion in lec­tures to be du­ti­fully recorded by stu­dents and later re­gur­gi­tated at ex­ams test­ing the abil­ity of stu­dents to mem­o­rize the facts they were given ear­lier.

Mod­ern in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing prac­tice more and more what is gen­er­ally re­ferred to as stu­dent-cen­tered teach­ing and learn­ing. The essence of this method is that one no longer at­tempts to sim­ply dis­burse in­for­ma­tion like a fount of wis­dom. In­stead, aca­demics de­ploy teach­ing strate­gies that fa­cil­i­tate stu­dent learn­ing in such a way that all stu­dents in a class reach the re­quired pre-de­ter­mined stan­dards for pass­ing a course. In other words, an aca­demic thinks about the needs of in­di­vid­ual stu­dents in their class and how they can as­sist (like a coach) to en­sure they un­der­stand what is re­quired to be learned.

Their con­cern is to en­sure that all stu­dents can reach the level of un­der­stand­ing that was ex­pressed ear­lier as what they should know or able to do (learn­ing out­comes) at the end of the course. This is the second im­por­tant part of the quiet rev­o­lu­tion that is tak­ing place. More and more pro­grams or parts of pro­grams (cour­ses) are be­ing de­fined by learn­ing out­comes. Th­ese learn­ing out­comes are use­ful in that they give stu­dents a way of look­ing at the course in terms of what is ex­pected of them, or, even bet­ter, what they’ll know and can do af­ter the course has ended. To de­sign an as­sess­ment that tests whether in­deed the stu­dents are at the in­tended level is also greatly fa­cil­i­tated by th­ese learn­ing out­comes.

The third as­pect of the quiet rev­o­lu­tion is that in­creas­ingly pro­gram de­sign­ers are heed­ing the call of em­ploy­ers for grad­u­ates to be equipped with so-called trans­ver­sal skills. Th­ese trans­ver­sal skills in­clude abil­i­ties such as crit­i­cal think­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, team­work, an­a­lyt­i­cal ca­pac­ity and prob­lem solv­ing. In very ad­vanced im­ple­men­ta­tions of th­ese three as­pects, the body of knowl­edge is not for­got­ten, but has now be­come the ve­hi­cle by which we en­sure that stu­dents ac­quire th­ese trans­ver­sal skills.

The ex­pected out­come of th­ese three changes are grad­u­ates well equipped to make a con­tri­bu­tion to solv­ing global chal­lenges, able to make worth­while con­tri­bu­tions to the or­ga­ni­za­tions that em­ploy them and able to act as re­spon­si­ble global cit­i­zens with a longterm sus­tain­able view of man’s im­pact on the world.

Cour­tesy of Pur­wd­hika School

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