Graduate Competencies, Employability and Educational Taxonomies: Critique of Intended Learning Outcomes

Simon Paul Atkinson


For universities to remain relevant and competitive in a global market of Higher Apprenticeships and work-based learning provision there will needs to be a much clearer articulation of the benefits accrued by students in their ‘graduateness’. A review of 20 UK institutions, 80 undergraduate modules and some 435 individual intended learning outcomes (ILOs) being taken by students in 2014-15 reveals the lack of definition of ILOs in terms of the development of skills attractive to employers. This paper argues that employability skills should be more clearly articulated in the ILOs specified at module level. It also suggests that the development of employability skills at an institutional level requires sustained attention to ensuring transparency in module designs to promote student choice and measurable skills acquisition possible.

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