UM's Vision on Education

Education at Maastricht University (UM) is shaped by several evidence-based learning approaches, together building the UM philosophy of education. Shaped by research projects from within an around the university, this page offers an overview about some key concepts at the heart of our education.

For a more practical insight into how to use these concepts, please check out our page on course design here.

4 Learning Principles to Define PBL: CCCS

Maastricht University uses a problem based learning approach (PBL).

To help dynamics of group learning and knowledge retention, PBL at Maastricht University is based on four learning pillars:

  • constructive learning
  • contextual learning
  • collaborative learning and
  • self-directed learning (CCCS).

To your right you can find more information on the background of the UM philosophy of education: The EDview research has been a key document defining PBL at UM. You can also find an explanation of the CCCS principles, and a variety of examples of CCCS in practice.

Towards Better Course Design: The Theory of Constructive Alignment

Constructive Alignment is an approach to instructional design that integrates three fundamental elements: Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs), Teaching and Learning Activities (TLAs), and Assessment.

By following the buttons below, you will be redirected to a more in depth explanation of the CoAl theory and how to put it to practice.

The UM Vision on Assessment

Assessment of, for and as learning

Assessment is integral to the teaching–learning process, facilitating student learning and improving instruction, and can take a variety of forms. Assessment is generally divided into three types: assessment for learning, assessment of learning and assessment as learning. Recently, UM published a new vision on assessment that aims to move away from an assessment culture of testing toward a culture of feedback and development.

Assessment for learning is ongoing assessment that allows teachers to monitor students on a day-to-day basis and modify their teaching based on what the students need to be successful. This assessment provides students with the timely, specific feedback that they need to make adjustments to their learning.

Assessment of learning is the snapshot in time that lets the teacher, students and their parents know how well each student has completed the learning tasks and activities. It provides information about student achievement. While it provides useful reporting information, it often has little effect on learning.

Assessment as learning develops and supports students’ metacognitive skills. This form of assessment is crucial in helping students become lifelong learners. As students engage in peer and self-assessment, they learn to make sense of information, relate it to prior knowledge and use it for new learning. Students develop a sense of ownership and efficacy when they use teacher, peer and self-assessment feedback to make adjustments, improvements and changes to what they understand. 

Blended Learning and the Role of Technology

Like other universities, the COVID19-pandemic has accelerated the role of technology within the UM setting. Due to the unique nature of education at UM with the PBL approach, we have consistently conducted research to evaluate and carefully consider the integration of technology into our student-centred approach. For example, the study which evaluated the early impressions of the shift to emergency remote learning, and the more in-depth project EDvance, that researched good practices for blended PBL.