COMPETENCES AND LEARNING OUTCOMES. HOW TO FACE WITH THIS NEW CHALLENGE

M.A. Martínez, M. Martínez, E. Ramos, A. Romero, V. Castellanos, I. Ares

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (SPAIN)
In 1999, with the Bologna Declaration, the European universities began their way to build the European Higher Education Area. Nowadays the university in Europe is making progress in the adaptation to the European Higher Education Area implementing new actions and steps to lead the university to reach a quality teaching system. The introduction of all these changes means a modernization of the university, designed to ensure quality education system with new curricula.

There were set the main objectives which include the adoption of a system of easily readable and comparable degrees, a system essentially based on two main cycles, a system of credits as may be the ECTS system, the promotion of mobility, cooperation and the promotion of the necessary European dimensions in higher education. But which is probably one of the most important objectives of this Plan is the idea of transferring the point of attention from the professor teaching process to the student learning process.

In this sense, it has been defined new concepts that we have to learn to work with, such as: objectives, outcomes and competences in the field of learning process. These terms are often confused because professors have not often clearly defined these concepts and it will make us more difficult to achieve a quality education system. The objectives must be clearly defined by professors setting targets either in the theoretical and practical level, knowledge, skills and abilities. The outcomes are defined from the point of view of the student, those knowledge, skills and abilities that students acquire during learning. The concept of learning outcomes should be distinguished from the concept of competence that it is the capacity that a student has to resolve a situation at work or during the study using the knowledge, skills and abilities acquired during learning.

In conclusion professors should plan, organize and coordinate coherently the teaching and its objectives. This development means to assure that all planned objectives have been carried out and the outcomes have to involve the successful achievement of the learning process.