HOW A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COURSE HELPS HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS TO BECOME LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS
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The focus on the developing European Higher Education Area requires institutions of higher education to implement reforms by paying more attention to the quality of education and students' needs. It also requires replacing traditional teaching methods with new approaches to the acquisition and management of knowledge, as well as accepting a different understanding of learning outcomes and a competence-based education process. This entails the need for changes in the professionalism and professional identity of lecturers - that is, they need new knowledge and skills in how to teach and manage students' learning, and they need to think of themselves as researchers and lecturers, not just researchers. Higher educational institutions can truly be characterized as learning organizations only if there is well established professional development for the staff. This article describes the theoretical aspects, experiences and results of the staff professional development course involving more than 400 lecturers at 10 higher education institutions in Latvia; it highlights the influence of this course in changing the teaching/learning culture at these institutions.
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