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Quality Hazards in the Learning Outcome Model

Conference contribution
Authors Martin G. Erikson
Malgorzata Erikson
Published in Paper presented at 111th European Quaity Assurance Forum, Ljubljana 17-19 November 2016
Publication year 2016
Published at School of Public Administration
Language en
Keywords learning outcome, Bologna process, teacher practice, life long learning, learning, higher education, university education, Willam von Humboldt, public administration
Subject categories Public Administration Studies, Pedagogical Work, Learning


Core academic principles and purposes of higher education can be expressed in such terms as students’ personal development or academic identity. These are important in the Bologna process, for example in relation to life-long learning. At the same time, policies about learning outcomes regulate much of the teachers’ everyday practice. The paper analyse the extent to which this combination of perspectives can be a quality hazard, and it is argued that two particular areas can be problematic. The first is that desirable effects of higher education that cannot be expressed as learning outcomes are at risk of being neglected. The second is that learning outcomes can become a roof, restricting students’ ambitions and their entire outlook on what higher education is supposed to be. How these risks can be taken into account when formulating quality criteria is discussed in relation to the responsibilities of students, teachers and institutional management.

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