Instructional Design

Within a rapidly changing global context problem-based instructional methods should be of adaptive and flexible nature in order to depart from problems that connect well to contemporary and future global issues. On an output level this theme emphasises problem-based learning and transferable skills development. The taskforce Instructional Design sets the horizon for projects and other activities. These will lead us to new insights referring to instructional design and evidence based practices we can build upon in the near future.


Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is the common didactic method at Maastricht University. PBL is based on the principle that a learning process should be constructive, self-directed and contextual. During the learning process, student’s competences such as self-directed learning, problem-solving, knowledge application, analytical thinking and critical reflection are trained. In addition, students learn to work as well as perform research independently. In the final period of their programme, students are required to write a thesis.

Research Skills

About the project

The training and development of research skills are crucial to any UM student in order to successfully graduate from the institution and pursue an academic, but also professional career. Currently, between and within faculties a large variety of didactic models, (non-)PBL applications and ideas for learning trajectories exists when it comes to apprehend research skills.

This project captures and analyses the quality of these differences and addresses good practices of research skills (including critical thinking, writing and argumentation, information literacy and retention and data/source collection and selection). Furthermore, it reflects on the possibilities to align research skills within curricula so research skills are trained in an integrated manner. Currently, a co-authored handbook is being developed which provides information for teachers about PBL and research skills education which can lead to improved quality of education within and across faculties. A downloadable version of this handbook is expected in the summer of 2017.

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is Maastricht University’s main educational method. Within the PBL setting, Step 6 of the 7-step method – Self-study – is the step where students have to take the responsibility to properly prepare for the post-discussion. However, UM students (primarily first year students) often lack knowledge about the use of effective self-study methods. Evidence shows that there is a need to increase attention to and practice with effective learning strategies.

About the project

Evidence shows that students often lack knowledge about effective learning strategies. This project highlights three stages in which students should be confronted with their learning strategies and study-skills: 1) raising awareness (learn about effective learning strategies), 2) increasing self-reflection in students (learn which strategies are used and how to make them more effective), and 3) practice (internalise the effective strategies through repeated use and feedback). In March 2017, Associate Professor Anique de Bruin has received a Comenius grant from The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for research proposal of this project. This project started in the first quarter of 2017 and will run for one year.


Intended deliverables

  • Define faculty specific and UM-general SRL outcomes for UM students;
  • Training modules:
    • Designing a core training of learning strategies, focused on awareness of effective learning strategies;
    • Designing a core training of learning strategies, focused on reflection on effective learning strategies;
    • Designing a core training of learning strategies, focused on practicing tailored effective learning strategies;
  • Adapting the core training to fit faculty-specific needs and wants; this also includes identifying the training can be implemented into academic programmes;
  • Measuring effect of the SRL training on student’s academic achievement;
  • Developing training of trainers who will roll out the training within their academic programmes.
Global Citizenship Education is a form of civic learning which focusses on empowering learners to acquire understanding, skills, and values needed to cooperate in resolving the globally interconnected social, economic, political, environmental challenges of the 21st century.
Global Citizenship

About the project

Maastricht University wants to make steps forward towards an international (or European) civic university with graduates who are more socially responsible, interculturally competent and globally and glocally engaged as a result of their education in Maastricht. The aim of this project is to research opportunities to address Global Citizenship Education (GCE) in all UM programmes in a meaningful way. In order to reach this goal, we intend to 1) find agreement on GCE outcomes for UM students and harvests GCE content and scenarios from across UM’s course catalogue, 2) make an inventory possible intra- as well as and extracurricular activities that align with GCE and character education, and 3) sketch components of blended intra- as well as extracurricular GC tracks, including assessment, heeding faculty idiosyncrasies. The Global Citizenship project started in January 2017 and has an initial duration of one year.


Intended deliverables

  • Define faculty-specific and UM-general GCE outcomes for UM students
  • Harvesting and curating GCE content and scenarios from across UM’s catalogue
  • Design of a blended intra-/extracurricular GC track, including assessment of GCE
  • A repertory of intra-/extracurricular activities that align with character education (e.g. grit, empathy, inclusion, curiosity, ethics, courage)


In March 2018, EDLAB will organize a Symposium about Global Citizenship Education. During this event, information will be shared with the UM community about how Global Citizenship Education can be addressed in UM education. More information about this event will follow soon.


Project group

The Global Citizenship project group is composed of teachers who represent all UM faculties. In addition, EDLAB has involved a student panel with students from international student organizations in Maastricht. The student panel contributes to the project by giving input about GCE from a student perspective.

It is often recognized that incoming Master’s students arrive at Maastricht University with varied levels of preparedness. Successful completion of a Bachelor’s programme does not guarantee that incoming Master’s students possess the skills, competencies and learning and coping strategies required for a successful master study. In certain cases, students are not aware of the requirements. Ideally, rather than receiving ad hoc assistance from study advisors, incoming masters should understand how they are expected to perform, prior to their first day of study and get the opportunity to improve where necessary, both before and during their first study phase.
Preparing Master Students

About the project

This project, coordinated by the UM Library, specifically targets incoming UM Master’s students in the period between their admission and their first educational activities. Through this project the UM Library aims to create an online platform with an overview of – and access to current information and support of all UM faculties and service centers for incoming Master’s students in order to facilitate a good start of their Master’s programme at Maastricht University.

Intended Deliverables:

  • An overview of predictors, conditions and red flags in relation to study success;
  • An inventory of current and desired offer by UM faculties and UM service centres;
  • An inventory of student experiences and needs;
  • An online platform for incoming Master’s students;
  • Evaluation report of the online platform.

Steering Committee Education Innovation

EDLAB is represented by one liaison in every UM faculty, and in the UM library. Linked to EDLAB liaisons are the faculty Vice-Deans of Education, who also take active part in the education innovation process. Together with the EDLAB Innovation Coordinators, they form the Steering Committee Education Innovation.

Marloes Menten



Donna Carroll



Mark Vluggen



Catalina Goanta



Arie van der Lugt



Valérie Drost



Jonathan van Tilburg



Gaby Lutgens



Walter Jansen