Work programme 2012-2015
Implementation of the learning outcomes approach and quality assurance arrangements
On 28 and 29 November 2013, a Peer Learning Activity (PLA) was held in Leuven, Belgium, focusing on ‘increasing synergies between the implementation of the learning outcomes approach and quality assurance arrangements’.
This PLA was hosted by the European Commission, and was organised as a follow-up to the Irish Presidency conference 'Quality assurance in qualifications frameworks' in March 2013 and the joint meeting of the EQF Advisory Group and the Structural Reforms Working Group under the Bologna Process in September 2013. The event was attended by approximately 45 participants from various European countries.
The main objectives of the PLA were to allow delegates to:
- develop a better understanding of the various approaches to quality assurance using learning outcomes at national and institutional level;
- develop a common understanding of what kind of quality assurance criteria and arrangements are needed to support the learning outcomes approach in vocational education and training and in higher education at national and at European levels; and
- explore how synergies between the learning outcomes approach and quality assurance can be strengthened at European level.
Recent discussions on the implementation of the European qualifications frameworks – EQF and QF-EHEA – have called for closer links between the learning outcomes approach and quality assurance arrangements at national and European levels. It is widely acknowledged that while the use of the learning outcomes approach can make qualifications more transparent, quality assurance systems can provide important safeguards to ensure its trustworthy implementation throughout the education and training system.
The evaluations of EQF and EQAVET and the revision of the ESG (European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area) also urge further explicit links between the learning outcomes approach and quality assurance principles in order to support coherent implementation at European levels and provide clear guidance to countries in the implementation of the various European tools.
The report summarises the discussions that took place during the PLA. It is written for a wider audience than those who participated in the PLA in order to share information with the wide range of organisations responsible for developing national frameworks and referencing qualifications to the EQF.