Tuesday, 7 May 2019


Terminology (DESTIN and SSU ICM) - FEB 2019 005

for Aligning and Checking the Alignment of a Higher Education Study Programme’s Learning Outcomes
with Qualification Frameworks

(some Key Definitions (from page 6)

 1.     Some key definitions

The alignment process, for the purpose of this Guideline, is a process to determine whether an award made by a legitimate awarding body can be recognised to be at a designated Level in a National Framework of Qualifications (or in the absence of a Framework to the Dublin Descriptors for a First Cycle (e.g. Bachelor), Second Cycle (e.g. Master) or Third Cycle (e.g. Doctorate) qualification.
Align project
Study programme
A study programme of education and training refers to any process by which learners may acquire knowledge, skill or competence. It includes programmes of study or instruction, apprenticeships, training and employment.

A study programme offers learners learning opportunities by which they may attain particular educational goals, by engaging in learning activities in a learning environment. The goals are expressed as the intended study programme learning outcome.

A study programme is normally comprised of modules or units. A major degree programme (e.g. Bachelor, Master, Postgraduate Diploma) will normally require some kind of ‘cohesion generating’ process which integrates constituent modules, or units, so that the minimum intended programme learning outcomes are supported.
The cohesion generating process should establish the epistemological and cultural identity of the study programme. It should also coordinate alignment of activities with the minimum intended programme learning outcomes and introduce learners to the broader community of practice to which they aspire.

In the development of a new study programme the link between the intended learning outcomes and the created modules or units is established explicitly.
Glossary, National Qualifications Authority of Ireland

Quality & Qualifications Ireland, General Validation Handbook, Revised 20131

Learning Outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes
There is a difference between Learning Outcomes and
Intended Learning Outcomes.

Learning outcomes are: a learner’s knowledge, skill and competence change as a result of learning. (In principle, learning outcomes may describe the change in knowledge, skill or competence in an individual (differential form). They may also mean the cumulative result of all learning, including prior learning at the time of entry to the study programme (integral form). The outcomes expected at level N are those specified at that level in addition to the sum of those at lower levels.

Intended Learning Outcomes represent the educational Outcomes: goals. They describe the learning outcomes that the programme coordinator or teacher intends that learners will attain as a result of teaching and learning activities

Intended learning outcomes must always include the
minimum intended learning outcomes.

Actual learning outcomes achieved by a learner should include at least the minimum intended learning outcomes; they will typically include additional outcomes.

Intended programme learning outcomes set out the outcomes expected across the entire study programme leading to an award. Thus an intended study programme learning outcome is a statement of what a learner is expected to know, the skills they will have and be able to use.

Qualifications Framework
A description of mutual relations between qualifications, which aims to integrate and coordinate national qualifications subsystems and improve the transparency, access, progression and quality of qualifications for learners and the societies in which they live. In particular it describes the hierarchy of qualifications levels – each qualification is linked to one of these levels


Level Descriptors
General statements indicating the learning outcomes relevant to a qualification at a given level, defined in terms of knowledge, skills and competence.

Learning outcomes employed as generic statements that describe the characteristics and context of learning.

Modules and units are synonymous. They are small discrete portions of a study programme with their own specified learning outcomes which are assessable. Some countries specify rules for size of a module/unit which leads to differentiation between them.

Also see the EU Commission’s own Glossary at…


Thanks to The Sumy State University team for their work on a DESTIN Glossary which originally emerged from work done by Iryna Skliar for Tempus ALIGN and was further developed through inter-project coaching in an IADT-SSU KA1 mobility. Special thanks to SSU’s Iryna Skliar and Konstantin Kyrychenko for leading this work.

This is a 13-page Glossary which originally emerged from work done by Iryna Skliar for Tempus ALIGN and was further developed through inter-project coaching in an IADT-SSU KA1 mobility. Special thanks to SSU’s Iryna Skliar and Konstantin Kyrychenko for leading this work.

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