Re-Thinking an Educational Model Suitable for 21st Century Need

Tim Birtwistle, Robert Wagenaar

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


    How should learning in higher education best meet the challenges posed by the many changes in society and employment? If graduates are knowledgeable in a particular field of studies and are trained in key generic competences/transferable skills to allow for autonomy and responsibility, is that enough? Is it being achieved? Or are new and diverse sets of learning models (Lifelong Learning or the 60 Year Curriculum) needed? Learners must be empowered to operate as responsible and active citizens in their society and be successful participants in a dynamic labour market. Society will require continuous (re-)training to handle rapid technological and societal changes. To stay relevant as autonomous educational providers, higher education institutions will have to change their formats of learning and teaching. A revised higher education model demands a highly flexible format to cater for individualised learning pathways, based on three key components: (1) a particular field of studies (thematic or disciplinary) – the core - (2) a fully integrated set of transferable skills and (3) a large set of learning units of various sizes covering a flexible curriculum. Can it respond to five societal challenges in each component: interculturalism; processes of information and communication; processes of governance and decision making; ethics, norms, values and professional standards and the impact of climate change? Measuring and Comparing Achievements of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education in Europe (CALOHEE), an EU funded project envisages a new model. The paper is partly based on the (initial) findings of this project. International cooperation in the context of the EHEA is essential to engage all, and make a change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEuropean Higher Education Area
    Subtitle of host publicationChallenges for a New Decade
    EditorsAdrian Curaj, Ligia Deca, Remus Pricopie
    Place of PublicationCham
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-56316-5
    ISBN (Print)978-3-030-56315-8
    Publication statusPublished - 12-Nov-2020


    • Bologna Process
    • Educational reform
    • Micro-credentials
    • Lifelong learning
    • European Higher Education Area

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