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From individual accountability to shared responsibility: Reconceptualising learning outcomes
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of pedagogy. (Studies in Curriculum, Teaching and Evaluation (SITE))
University College of Southeast Norway, Norway.
2017 (English)In: Abstract book. NERA 2017. Learning and education - material conditions and consequences. Copenhangen, Denmark, 23-25 March, 2017, 2017, 140-140 p.Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Over the last decades learning outcomes has become a key concept in education policy (Aasen, 2012; Hopmann, 2008; Lawn, 2011). Discursively, it has been embedded within a wider education policy context characterised by a shift from teaching to learning emphasising individual accountability and employability (Biesta, 2005; Prøitz, 2015). In addition international assessments have come to play an increasingly important role in governing education policy and policy-makers strengthening the reductionist discourse emphasising product rather than process even further (Hopmann, 2008; Pettersson, 2008). TRightly this development has been criticised as a resurgence of Taylorism and scientific management placing too much emphasis on the measurable outcomes of learning (Au, 2011). As a response to this development Darling-Hammond et al. (2014) have asked for alternative narratives and new interpretations of what education is or could be about, a vision of a new accountability, which also calls for new and widened understandings of learning outcomes. In order to contribute to such a widened narrative the aim of this paper is to renounce the concept of reconceptualise learning outcomes as they have come to be interpreted in contemporary education policy and instead explore learning outcomes as interpreted within the framing of teaching and learning with an ambition toilluminate potential ways of reconceptualising learning outcomes in education of today. We take our theoretical point of departure in the writings of Elliot Eisner (1979, 2005). Eisner is concerned with the role of curriculum in learning and has defined a trichotomy of outcomes. Emphasising the interplay between the student, the teacher and the subject in question facilitates a more dynamic analysis of learning outcomes where not all learning can be easily identified and measured. Learning outcomes are understood as intersubjective constructions and the result of intended as well as unintended processes. As such, it is not something that is easily pre-defined, instead Eisner argues that the variable teacher, student and class group requires artful blending for the educationally valuable to result.

       The paper is structured in two parts. In the first part we sketch a general picture of the policy shift from process to product in education with empirical references to recent educational reforms in Norway and Sweden. The analysis is based on a close reading of kKey policy documents. In the second part we introduce Eisner’s theoretical contribution as a way to reconceptualise learning outcomes as they are communicated in Norwegian and Swedish key policy documents. The result shows how Eisner’s theory might facilitate a multidimensional approach to learning outcomes, exceeding the limited gaze of contemporary policy discourses focusing solely on the measurable products of learning. Eisner´s artistic approach offers a useful language for reconceptualising learning outcomes in a complex globalised society where unintended aspect increasingly determines the outcomes of people’s educational efforts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. 140-140 p.
Keyword [en]
Learning outcomes, Norway Sweden, Elliot Eisner
National Category
Educational Sciences Pedagogy
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-61697OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-61697DiVA: diva2:1084511
Conference
NERA 2017, 45th Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association. Copenhangen, Denmark, 23-25 March, 2017
Available from: 2017-03-25 Created: 2017-03-25 Last updated: 2017-03-31Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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