Using Reusable Units of Learning Outcomes (RULOs) in the agricultural Vocational Education and Training (VET) system

The European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) (see also the CEDEFOP page) strengthens lifelong learning by supporting individuals to move between countries to gain a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification. This requires an alignment between the different countries, systems and contexts, and can be achieved on the basis of the acquired skills and competences that are described in learning outcomes. The transfer, recognition and accumulation of assessed learning outcome facilitates the lifelong learning process.

This modular approach is promoted by the use of ECVET framework. In order to further facilitate organisations to “take the ECVET STEP”, the ECVET-STEP project has built upon a design patterns approach, developing shareable and Reusable Units of Learning Outcomes (RULOs). RULOs contain descriptions for the components of the qualification consisting of a coherent set of knowledgeskills and competence which can be accumulated, assessed, validated and transferred according to specific rules, criteria and credits. These descriptions are based on an information model that has been described in details in the Deliverable D3.1 "Information Model for representing Reusable Units of Learning Outcomes (RULOs)" (PDF) of the project.

A basic aspect is the focus is on “reusable”, i.e. to facilitate discovery and reuse of existing definitions of learning outcomes, as well as structuring with increased levels of granularity.

In order to enable finding and reusing learning outcomes across VET opportunities and providers, their descriptions should be stored in repositories accessible via outcome based finding and publishing services.

RULOs can:

  1. be associated with resources to help teachers find and use them;
  2. be added to learner profiles to show they have achieved certain levels of knowledge or skill;
  3. be used in training opportunity descriptions to describe the learning outcomes of a VET programme;
  4. be used in job applications or profiles to help job finding and employee management.

In this context, the ECVET-STEP project has developed a methodology for creating RULOs in such a way that they are reusable and shareable across different domains, educational levels and contexts (formal, informal and non-formal). This methodology presents a set of “design patterns” for the creation of RULOs, as well as a quality-controlled process for creating new design patterns and further evolve existing ones. The methodology is described in details in the Deliverable D3.3 "Methodology and guidelines for integrating RULOs in VET Instruments".

Last but not least, the RULO methodology incorporates an ECVET Quality Assurance Specification and greater transparency when choosing a learning opportunity across Europe the best to describe the qualification in terms of units of “Learning Outcomes”. This defines quality criteria for the application of ECVET to sectoral and trans-sectoral qualifications and other VET-related instruments involved in the ECVET processes and workflows.

This specification allows for continuous and predictable quality improvement, thus allowing organisations engaged in learner mobility in VET to follow an evolutionary path from ad hoc, inconsistently performed practices, to a mature, disciplined and continuously improving implementation of ECVET.

This new elaborated information model will be the basis of the software toolkit for the adoption of the new framework and online repository service with descriptions and insight from the usage of RULOs in the domain of agriculture as well as guidelines for transfer to other domains.

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