IATED-INT ASSOC TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION A& DEVELOPMENT
INTED2012: INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY, EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE pages:1028-1036
6th International Conference of Technology, Education and Development (INTED) location:Valencia: SPAIN date:MAR 05-07, 2012
All programmes in higher education aim for a curriculum that enables students to become independent, critical-thinking professionals. But how can this goal be reached effectively and efficiently? How does a curriculum design influence student learning and, more importantly, how can the answer to this question be used to improve student learning? These questions are not new and many authors already formulated answers to parts of them. First, at the curriculum level, a serial educational system whereby only a few courses are taught simultaneously over shorter time periods is more efficient than a parallel system in terms of student learning and study progress. Second, at the course level, literature shows that reducing contact hours can significantly improve study efficiency if students are activated to actually use the free time to study, for example, by using a preparation-feedback model instead of a presentation-assimilation model. Third, during contact hours cognitive load should be reduced to allow students to actively process new knowledge and skills. Students cannot remember more than 30% of traditionally-taught, general concepts even if the lecture is given by the most renowned lecturer. Interactive-engagement methods can significantly improve the effectiveness of a course and enhance the problem solving ability of students. Fourth, permanent evaluation can be used to assess the extent to which students reach the set goals, but also to activate students and give regular feedback. In this paper existing knowledge from literature is integrated and supplemented by personal experiences and findings. Hereby the authors want to anticipate students' tendency to postpone active studying, which inevitably leads to a high peak of workload at the end of the semester, superficial learning, and a lack of long-term retention of knowledge and skills. Moreover, the didactical guidance that is available during the semester is not used optimally as students often have lost track of the course content after a few weeks, resulting in passive class attendance without any learning activities. Consequently, the main goal of the paper is to define an ultimate curriculum design for an optimal learning experience at the Faculty of Science at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) within the constraints of the existing educational system.