Trends in student population and curriculum design for the Open University of the Netherlands

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    European countries intend to move towards a single European Area of Higher Education. This so-called Bologna Process aims at creating comparable, compatible, and coherent systems of higher education. In practice, this means the harmonization of course credits, program degrees, and program accreditation. In order to come in line with the Bologna Process, all these elements have had to be changed in the Netherlands. In the last decades, this has had a great impact on the number of institutes, the content of the programs, and the composition of the lifelong professional learning student population. The Executive Board of the Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) felt that due to a combination of changes in the student population and declining student numbers, the policy of moving towards increased distance education needed to be changed. A new teaching model will have to be developed in order to ensure lower dropout rates, increased persistence, and higher graduation rates. This model must embrace relevance, actuality, commitment, challenge, and interaction as its leading design principles. With the implementation of this model, the bachelor’s and master’s programs will become more structured and more professionally relevant.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)71-91
    Number of pages21
    JournalInternational Journal of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


    • distance education
    • curriculum design
    • lifelong learning
    • The Netherlands


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