The main learning goal of Modern Higher Education (MHE) is to teach knowledge and thinking strategies in a coherent way. During the study, the students’ intuitive views are replaced by theories and models from the disciplines. To achieve this, the team of teachers designs a learning environment in which the learning of individual students is supported and encouraged.
The short description of MHE given above is focused on the aim and characteristics of the learning environments often used in modern higher education. This description is formulated by Lodewijks (1993) and reflects the vision used in many curriculum and course development projects.
The main characteristics of a good learning environment in MHE (Lodewijks, 1993)
- Conditions in education are as much as possible according to later use, including lifelike work situations.
- Students are encouraged to study actively.
- The lecturer is a coach and a professional expert.
- The education (teacher, fellow students and the study material) gives impetus to independent work and thinking. The students are given an increasing responsibility for their learning.
- The students develop a sense of self-competence/ an awareness of self-sufficiency.
Components of the learning process to be considered in course design
In their article Hattie and Donoghue give a systematic description of the learning process. They answer questions like: What is meant by learning in HE? What are the main components which characterize the learning process of the students? They give all kind of useful recommendations how the teachers in HE can support the learning through a clever course design and well-chosen teaching and learning activities and- material.
Design principles for course in MHE
In the research literature all kinds of advices are given how to design university education. When preparing the didactical concepts of several university study program it appears that a useful summary of these advices consists of 6 design principles together with around 50 suggestions how to apply these design principles.
The 6 Design principles are given below. By clicking on the name of the principle a short description is given together with design suggestions: