Arlande helps the university to recalibrate the range of courses

A large vocational college in the Randstaden is in the process of renewing the programs for one of its bachelor’s programs. Not only in terms of content, but also how the program is delivered. Arlande supported the course – a look back at the management office’s contribution and how it has moved the educational institution forward.

The University of Applied Sciences works on a comprehensive innovation process to better match its learning offer to the students’ needs. Think about rolling out new educational concepts, making the curriculum more flexible and digitizing it, giving students more control over their learning paths or, for example, paying more attention to personal growth through coaching.

The project on re-evaluation of the bachelor’s program is divided into different phases. The first phase focuses on the upgrade of years 1 and 2 (now live), and the phase that the vocational college is in focuses on years 3 and 4.


Three tracks were set up for the project: educational content, organizational structure and educational logistics. Arlande was brought on board to steer the healing process in the right direction.

Most important task for the consultancy? Make sure the different tracks stay on track and make sure it all stays in harmony with each other. Arlande started his work by building a bridge between education and educational support: To what extent are the ambitions realistic and feasible in relation to the design of processes and technology?

In-depth sessions with both business and IT zoomed in on various logistics processes such as orientation, scheduling, registration, training and testing. At the same time, it was investigated which new digital tools are needed to enable ambitions such as ‘more ownership’ and ‘flexible learning paths’.

Bringing education, business and IT together

“The challenge was to bring the ‘world’ of education, business operations and IT together and arrive at a desired design and layout of processes and systems”, explains Ivo Duifhuizen, who was involved in the task from Arlande.

“By introducing education and pedagogical support to each other at an early stage, bottlenecks quickly appeared, and a supported and joint solution could be sought.

Once the plan was drawn up, the implementation phase started. Because it is not clear in advance exactly what the end product would be in innovation processes, the value for students and teachers was put at the center of the development path.

“The various product owners continuously prioritized their work by asking themselves the question: What provides the most value for students and teachers?” In short sprints, the teams delivered useful sub-products that were tested directly with stakeholders. This provided valuable feedback which led to the products being immediately developed into even better versions.”

Get started with Agile

It was also decided to work via the agile methodology. “It meant dividing the ambitions into bite-sized chunks. It led to concrete results and gave a better grasp of the organizational change: more overview, where main and side issues were separated from each other.”

Furthermore, the agile philosophy ensures an interdisciplinary approach based on collaboration. “Different disciplines were represented in the teams, such as IT, teachers and educational support. An interdisciplinary team provides new insights and better solutions for all stakeholders.”

Duifhuizen guided the teams to the result. “During the implementation, the challenge was to continuously build the bridge between the three tracks.”

Progress

Phase 1 of the project has now been completed. The new educational model has been well received by both students and teachers. The flexible and modular learning path gives students greater freedom of choice.

Obviously, there are points of attention and themes that could run better. For example, stakeholders have to get used to the new structure and way of working, such as teaching, scheduling and testing. For educational logistics, it is time to operate the new working method.

In addition to working on phase 2, the project team is also focusing on a workflow that focuses on continuously making small improvements.

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