About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2938-2945
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain

ALIGNING THE LEARNING ACTIVITIES WITH LEARNING OUTCOMES AND STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS FOR TRANSFERABLE SKILLS

C. Chan

University of Hong Kong (HONG KONG)
Transferable skills are now considered to be the ‘x-factors’ by employers, even beyond having excellent academic discipline knowledge. In a world where discipline specific knowledge rapidly becomes obsolete, and that a large percentage of graduates are entering employment unrelated to their primary degree subject area, it seems that it is absolutely necessary for them to possess certain aspects of the skills portfolio which are transferable, regardless of discipline, when they complete college. All this is evidenced by the external forces from the Government whom in turn have been lobbied by employer demands to introduce transferable skills development strategy in higher education. Numerous white papers, from the Council of the European Union (2001) to the Dearing Report in UK (1997) have impacted significantly on the need for undergraduates to be better prepared for the world of work in order to ensure international competitiveness towards a knowledge-based economy. Of course, it is not merely about making students more employable, it is about making students more capable.

Recently, the Irish engineering professional body – Engineers Ireland has embraced a number of transferable skills criteria in their expected programme learning outcomes for engineering programme accreditation. Problem solving, creativity, teamwork, lifelong learning, communications and research ability are all expected transferable skills for a well-rounded engineering graduate. Higher education institutions are given the tasks to re-design the curriculum in order to embed and embrace these skills in the curriculum. This has caused numerous issues and concerns across the sector as there is a lack of information (Atlay and Harris, 2000) in general about the extent to which transferable skills may be perceived by students to be valuable and similarly by teachers. Often transferable skills courses are designed and delivered without the understanding of previous and current academic and work experience of students, and with little concern on how students may engage with the learning. They are often designed as quick fix add-on courses to address the immediate issues such as credits, learning outcomes and diversity from the management top-down. There is a certain amount of haziness from the perception of both the students and the teachers on the awareness, the understanding, the delivery of learning and the assessment of such skills. It is important to remember transferable skills are not by tradition part of a degree curriculum. Many academic professors do not actually have the personality or skill-sets to demonstrate such wisdom (Chan, 2005). Often the learning methods are not relevant to the skill-sets they try to teach or not related to authentic examples, there is little coherent link between course outcomes, methodology and assessments.

This study enhanced our conceptual understanding of both students’ and teachers’ perceptions of transferable skills in an undergraduate electrical engineering degree. The findings have raised transferable skills awareness and allow potential improvement amongst staff for aligning students’ perceptions of transferable skills with the learning activities and learning outcomes. This has also provided a pathway for designing and embedding some diverse teaching activities and assessment for transferable skills in the curriculum.
@InProceedings{CHAN2009ALI,
author = {Chan, C.},
title = {ALIGNING THE LEARNING ACTIVITIES WITH LEARNING OUTCOMES AND STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS FOR TRANSFERABLE SKILLS},
series = {3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-7578-6},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {9-11 March, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {2938-2945}}
TY - CONF
AU - C. Chan
TI - ALIGNING THE LEARNING ACTIVITIES WITH LEARNING OUTCOMES AND STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS FOR TRANSFERABLE SKILLS
SN - 978-84-612-7578-6/2340-1079
PY - 2009
Y1 - 9-11 March, 2009
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2009 Proceedings
SP - 2938
EP - 2945
ER -
C. Chan (2009) ALIGNING THE LEARNING ACTIVITIES WITH LEARNING OUTCOMES AND STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS FOR TRANSFERABLE SKILLS, INTED2009 Proceedings, pp. 2938-2945.
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