Startpage for Swedish National Agency for Higher Education

Please note! The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education was closed down on 31 December 2012. Instead two new agencies have been established: the Swedish Council for Higher Education and the Swedish Higher Education Authority. This website will continue to operate as the new agencies will have links to information it contains.  

Report 2009:22 R

Evaluation of learning and teaching methods programmes

This report presents the results of an assessment of programmes in the education methods and learning area carried out in the period 2007-2009. The assessment covers 58 programmes at the first and second cycle levels and 41 programmes at the third cycle level. In addition to general qualifications (bachelor, master, licentiate and doctoral degrees) in general teaching and learning methods, special needs education, subject didactics and management/school management/education methods, three vocational programmes are also assessed.
The report is in two parts. In the first part, Professor Sven Hartman presents a picture of the development of teaching and learning methods as an academic subject from a historical viewpoint. Professor Roger Säljö discusses the challenges faced by this subject area today, based for example on impressions gained at the Pedagogikens identitet och transformationer [identity and transformations in the education methods field] seminar arranged by the Agency for Higher Education in the autumn of 2008. The second part consists of assessment reports on the specific programmes covered by the evaluation. As noted by the Agency in previous evaluations, the learning and teaching methods field is extensive, with many different approaches, and the report confirms this. There are, however, certain general patterns that may be emphasised.
A new Degree Ordinance was introduced on1 July 2007 , and this involved higher education institutions in an intensive change process, both before and after entry into force of the Ordinance. The problems that introduction of a new ordinance entailed are reflected in the basis for the assessment. Questions concerning what are the main areas, progression in and between levels, and the way in-depth aspects are determined had not always been resolved when the evaluation was conducted. In addition, it may be noted that although, on the whole, there was satisfactory access to teachers defending an academic thesis, a high proportion of the actual teaching in the programmes that were assessed was carried out by teachers who were not in this category. In some subjects - for example special needs education methods - this may be partly due to difficulties in recruiting teachers with satisfactory academic competence and adequate special expertise. In other programmes, however, the high proportion of teachers who were not defending a thesis cannot be explained in a satisfactory manner. This is particularly serious if a low proportion of qualified teachers is combined with other deficiencies in the academic environment, or if the level, progression and in-depth aspects of the programme appear to be unsatisfactory.
Women tend to predominate in programmes in the education methods field, both in terms of student and teachers, although the majority of the professors are often men. In the case of third cycle studies, the assessments point in different directions. Some third cycle programmes are conducted in environments with a clear research orientation and in cooperation with other research programmes, while others seem to be much more isolated. One example is research in the subject-didactics area, which tends to be characterised by a limited number of doctoral students, few admissions and few teachers with a specific background in subject didactics. The fact that such programmes are often conducted in a broadly satisfactory academic environment does not outweigh the deficiencies in terms of critical mass that characterise the specific subject environment.
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