TU Dresden (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 1542-1553
ISBN: 978-84-09-49026-4
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2023.0438
Conference name: 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2023
Location: Valencia, Spain
In a rapidly changing society that is becoming more digital, the importance of interdisciplinary skills for Higher Education graduates in the labor market is increasing. These so-called 21st Century Skills differ from traditional academic skills as they are not primarily based on content knowledge. Most universities are aware of this and want to enable students to develop ideas and solutions to meet the significant challenges of our time and, in this sense, to impart subject and cross-disciplinary knowledge as well as methodological, social and personal skills.

This paper focuses on competence-oriented learning in higher education and evaluates the status quo of a German University of Excellence in an empirical study. The motivation arises from the fact that currently, there are neither measuring instruments nor responsible people to determine the success of fostering interdisciplinary competencies. Also, there is currently no overarching collection of feedback from students about the course of their studies. However, central university institutions need this information to create further educational measures and curricula. We will evaluate the competence-oriented learning settings regarding teaching and examination offerings and the associated student satisfaction. Particular relevance lies in identifying gaps between the teaching model and the actual situation.

Firstly, a systematic literature review provides an overview of the definition, relevance, and possibilities of classifying 21st Century Skills. Based on this, a consolidated framework is prepared. Likewise, chances of teaching and examining those 21st Century Skills are discussed. Based on an analysis of the university's mission statement and examination regulations, the extent to which these concepts are anchored in the teaching design of the university is compared.

Secondly, a standardized online questionnaire is used to evaluate the students' perspective on competence-oriented teaching. The questionnaire captures the students' empowerment and satisfaction and evaluates the suitability of common learning formats for teaching 21st Century Skills. Based on the results, recommendations for future curriculum design are presented.

Most students feel at least well-qualified in most of the questioned competencies. However, the study programs have different focuses on the competencies to be taught, and apparent contrasts between students of different faculties can be observed. Additionally, students are dissatisfied with how the courses are designed and would like to see more competencies taught. Accordingly, it was concluded that a uniform understanding of the key competencies to be formed should be created within the framework of strategy development and that the courses should be even more competency-oriented.

It can be seen that the primary conditions for fostering 21st Century Skills are in place and that competence orientation is formally addressed, but that students are only taught specific competencies to a limited extent, depending on their field of study. Future research within this context could analyze what proportion the evaluated teaching and examination formats represent within the study programs, and what correlations exist between curriculum design and student ability and satisfaction. Recommendations for action regarding the design of the teaching strategy and curricula are derived from these findings.
Higher Education, Competencies, 21st century skills, competence-oriented teaching, curricula development.