OUTCOME-BASED APPROACH TO THE CURRICULUM REFORM – A CASE STUDY IN THE FACULTY OF PHARMACY, UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI
In order to meet the expectations to act as an expert in the health care profession, it is of utmost importance that the education creates knowledge and skills needed. Thus, the planning of the curriculum should be based on learning outcomes. During 2012-2014 we conducted a curriculum reform in the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki. The construction of the curriculum was based on the most relevant learning outcomes concerning the work life. The reform was kicked off by interviewing all the relevant stakeholders (students, teachers, all the work sectors pharmacists are involved). Based on the interviews the learning outcomes of the Pharmacy degrees were defined including both content and generic skills. New learning outcomes led to the renovation of the strand structure within the curriculum to foster the constructive alignment and the redesigning of the courses. The learning outcomes were defined in more detail for the strands and individual courses.
During the reform process it became very clear that it is absolutely necessary to involve all the stakeholders when reforming the curriculum. Although the reform process was demanding and time-consuming, it was at the same time inspiring. And even though the process was unforeseeable the team could hold the process together by careful managing, planning and changing it with altering circumstances. The reform process was able to produce the learning outcomes. For the first time, the learning outcomes for the degrees in pharmacy included also generic skills in addition to theoretical skills. The learning outcomes enable the curriculum to be build based on constructive alignment and to create knowledge and skills needed in working life. Increased co-operation with the representatives of the working life will help to reach the planned learning outcomes.