Science - December 9, 2017

Professor will investigate Wageningen education

Albert Sikkema

The new professor of Education and Competence Studies, Perry den Brok, will be investigating the modernisation of Wageningen education.

© Guy Ackermans

‘I will investigate the educational ecosystem in Wageningen’, says the new professor of Education and Competence Studies, Perry den Brok. He will not follow in the footsteps of his predecessor and will rather focus on education and its modernisation at the university.

Den Brok started in Wageningen in early October. He transferred from Eindhoven University of Technology, where he led the Eindhoven part of the 4TU Centre for Engineering Education. ‘That’s where the universities of technology exchange their experience regarding modernisation of education.’ Den Brok was also the director of a teacher training programme at Eindhoven University of Technology, a programme leader, and he co-wrote educational views about that university. ‘I want to do that in Wageningen too’, says the new professor. ‘It would be a shame if the expertise in our chair group would not benefit the university.’

His chair group, the Education and Competence Studies Group, studies matters such as how people learn within companies and organisations and which learning environments contribute to a transfer and use of knowledge and competencies. The chair group will keep doing this, Brok explains, but the group will now also investigate the university education in Wageningen.

Wageningen University is growing and needs well-founded and proven educational innovations. Den Brok: ‘Education will need to make choices if the number of students grows and we want to deliver a diverse group of students. Innovations can help us anticipate on that, but how do we know what works? If something has been tested at other universities, I might be able to contribute that knowledge.’ He also wants to investigate how the education in Wageningen is developing.

Besides this, the professor also wants to collaborate closely with the people in education in Wageningen. ‘I want to help devise educational innovations and then evaluate them. Take the MOOCs, for example: do those contribute to the knowledge and skills of the students? My group could help determine this.’ Den Brok thinks that the effects of ICT on education also represent an important research question. ‘Besides, we want to know how to keep the learning experience on campus attractive to students in the future, when most knowledge will be provided digitally.’