Intended Learning and Learning in Action: Understanding how a Competency Framework for International Business is Construed by Students

Petronella van Heugten, Marjolein Heijne-Penninga, Patricia Robbe, Marca Wolfensberger, Alexandra Jaarsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


Undergraduate international business (IB) education aims to prepare students with the competencies that meet the demands of the workplace. However, graduates’ skills and those required for employment do not always align and this may be due to the lack of common language used by professionals, educators and students. In this study we gained insight into how honours students construe the competency framework of their IB programme in order to understand if their interpretations differed from how these were intended by educators and the professional field. For this we used the profile of Highly Talented International Business Professionals (HTIBP). Our results show that four out of five domains of the HTIBP were not construed the same as intended. Students added new meaning to existing competencies. Besides, students described new domains as important competencies learned at the honours programme that relate to the pedagogy used in the HP and not directly to the competency framework. The findings contribute to literature on lack of alignment between intended learning and learning in action in IB and offer insights for educators that the language used in competency frameworks should be clear. These insights will help to bridge the gap between higher education and professional life.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Publication statusSubmitted - Jan-2018


  • business education; intended learning; alignment; talent; social constructivism

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