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Educational innovations


NB Language of instruction is English unless only Dutch-speaking students participate


This course is concerned with educational innovations. In this course, you will analyse and evaluate these innovations aimed at enhancing learning and instruction, thereby paying attention to backgrounds, meanings, and consequences of changes occurring in the educational field.
The Dutch educational system witnesses a period of profound changes under the influence of the turn towards a knowledge society, global competition, technological innovation, new public management, the redressing of social relations between stakeholders in the educational field (teachers, pupils, parents, educational management and the state), and the continuous stream of educational and technological innovations geared towards the improvement of teaching and learning.

Crucial changes are related to the heightened importance of ‘performativity’ (performance of pupils, teachers and schools; methods of testing and assessing, systems of performance monitoring, systems of accountability of educational institutions), the introduction of inclusive education (redressing the balance between regular and special education, catering for special needs students, pupils of different attainment levels, and social and cultural backgrounds), new insights in the field of learning and instruction (for instance pertaining to powerful learning environments including ICT-applications, co-operative learning, peer feedback and assessment, or the role of motivational or neurological processes in pupil learning), and, last but not least, to the teaching staff (the professional status of their work, their professional development, their capacities for both individual and team work) and the organization of educational institutions (their school effectiveness, their role in teacher development, their educational visions).

The course will be organized around the critical study of a selection of such practical changes and innovative designs. It will also analyze evidence-based education as the preferred model of organizing the relationship of educational research and educational practices, and improving education. In this context, it will also deal with background knowledge with regard to educational systems and educational policies.

Course objectives

The objectives of the course are to:

  • develop critical awareness and understanding of the theory theoretical backgrounds of and empirical insights about the educational changes and interventions mentioned above and about the educational field;

  • appreciate the effects, advantages and disadvantages of these changes and
    interventions across a range of contexts;

  • acquire and practice skills in the critical analysis and evaluation of these changes and interventions;

  • create opportunities for participants to evaluate critically the relevant literature;

  • enable participants to develop an understanding of the links and tensions between theory and practice;

  • appreciate the complex moral dimensions of educational innovations.



Mode of instruction

Lectures, work groups, individual assignments.

Assessment method

The final grade will be based on an individual paper (100% of final grade). Individual assignments and a satisfactory class presentation are conditions for completing the course.


During this course Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

Study material will consist of recent book chapters as well as primary research articles from leading journals in education,psychology and sociology.
All articles will be announced on Blackboard a few weeks before the beginning of the course.



Students need to register for lectures in uSis. It is not possible to take a course without a valid registration.


Students are not automatically registered for exams. They can register themselves in uSis until 10 calendar days before the exam date at the latest. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the exam.

Please consult the course and exam registration website for information on registration periods and further instructions.

The exam of this course is a paper. This means that you do not have to register yourself for this exam in uSis.

Contact information

Co-ordinator is Dr. Kim Stroet