In the HORIZON project change dynamics of Norwegian higher education has been studied, against the background of the further development of the European and Norwegian knowledge societies. Main aspects examined are the development and coordination of Norwegian higher education policies in various arenas, how changes in knowledge fields affect student learning in Norwegian higher education institutions, as well as how policies and changes in knowledge Fields interact in the development of study programs.
Our examination of higher education policies has focused on the link between European level policy processes and the development of higher education policies in Norway. In addition, the project has examined comparatively how Denmark, Finland and Norway coordinate the development of their national policies in various knowledge areas, such as higher education, research, technology, and labor. Our analyses suggest that Denmark and Finland have more explicit and structured ways for coordinating their knowledge policies than Norway: Denmark has, for example, extensive experience with the integration of various knowledge policy areas in one Ministry, and Finland has established already in the 1990s formal structures for the coordination of national knowledge policy developments.
In addition, the development of Norwegian (higher) education policies in the period 2000-2014 has been examined, with a special focus on internationalization, the relationship between higher education and the labor market ('employability'), and research-based education. Our analyses show that higher education policies are developed through specific communication and input trajectories that have only marginally become more horizontal in the period in question. One of the project's postdocs has studied how with respect to internationalization of higher education tensions between traditional socio-cultural intentions and an increasing emphasis on economic goals have been handled at the European and national level. In addition, we have investigated the relevance of higher education's study programs for working life. Analyses of the development of national curriculum plans for engineering and teacher education show that there are in both areas tensions between a professional practice orientation and the notion of research-based education. At the same time, there are clear differences between the two fields in how these processes are organized and which actors participate in them.
In the part of the project that focused on changes in knowledge fields and student enrolment in expert cultures we have analyzed students' participation in knowledge practices in introductory courses in professional study programs in law, engineering and teacher education. The analyses revealed differences as to how newcomers are introduced into the respective knowledge domains. The law and engineering programs emphasize methodological aspects and standardized procedures for problem solving, but each in a different way. Teacher education students are introduced to a more eclectic and less structured knowledge domain. Connecting theoretical concepts from the literature to specific everyday cases is emphasized, with less attention given to procedural aspects. Overall the analyses show that the selected study programs have different mechanisms for transforming students? understanding from resting on common conceptions to basing it on terms, concepts and principles from the involved profession's knowledge culture. Research based activities can be regarded as appropriate for the enrolment of newcomers in a knowledge field, but this has to be supported pedagogically in an effective way.
It is also important to take into account study programs' change dynamics when it comes to the organization and governance of higher education. The developmental logic of a knowledge field is an important change driver, and constitutes certain rationales for the functioning and qualifications progress of study programs. At the same time education is a potentially important arena for creating change in professional practices, as we have seen especially in teacher education. At the study program level the political steering of higher education will be filtered, amongst other things, through horizontal relationships among education, professional practices and disciplinary research & development. This implies that political steering efforts will be adapted to these relations through the way in which the steering signals and conditions are translated into practices. However, many of the current steering instruments for (higher) education, such as qualifications frameworks (with their learning outcomes descriptors), and models for the cooperation between education and working life are generic. Our analyses show that in order to have more impact on educational practices they have to be better integrated with the academic structures responsible for study programs in higher education.
The HOGLED project is aimed at contributing to an improved understanding of major change dynamics in higher education with respect to higher education governance and learning processes in higher education institutions, as well as the way these two are con nected. The changes in governance and learning processes can be interpreted as a horizontal extension of traditionally vertical processes. Concerning the horizontalization of governance HOGLED is interested in how higher education policies have been coord inated with other knowledge policy areas. When it comes to learning processes in higher education HOGLED is focused on the way in which these have become spatially extended, and currently comprise a multitude of sites and practices which may co-exist and interact in complex ways. Finally, the horizontal extension of governance and learning processes has made the vertical coordination practices and structures more complex. HOGLED will analyze how institutional leadership in higher education institutions co nnects the two 'horizontalization' processes. Special focus will be on examining the role of knowledge cultures in constituting dynamics of learning in higher professional programmes, on examining the interpretations among institutional leaders at variou s levels of the extended governance and learning contexts, and the way in which these interpretations affect the connection between the two. For this purpose, amongst other things, the educational strategies of the institutions involved will be studied.
The analytical framework for this project is built upon two theoretical perspectives, i.e. institutional theory and an epistemic culture perspective. This analytical framework represents an important development in educational research since it concerns an effort to integrate traditionally separated perspectives and research activities. This framework allows for an integrated multi-level analysis of the change dynamics in higher education systems and institutions.