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Developing competencies and shaping the future

We ensure that our students are able to process scientific knowledge and to apply this knowledge appropriately in practice. This is in line with current discussions on education policies, which are focussing on competence-based teaching and learning.

Competence is defined as the way in which people are able to apply their knowledge, experience, skills and interests in practice in a concrete context. The transformation of knowledge into practice is complex and requires that our students develop a strong ability to reflect. At the ZHAW, we seek to promote this ability in our programmes rather than simply focusing on conveying knowledge. We want to ensure that the development of knowledge and the development of competencies go hand in hand. 

ZHAW graduates work in challenging fields where it is becoming increasingly difficult to apply standard solutions and processes. Even when faced with uncertainty, norm conflicts, high-risk conditions and time pressure, they have to be able to apply their knowledge and skills responsibly when it comes to making decisions and taking action.

Students involved in shaping own studies

We see our students as key players who share responsibility for shaping their learning process. Basing our approach on the humanistic educational ideal, we work with our students to develop their specialist, personal, social, communicative and cooperative competences.  In doing this, we make targeted use of digital technologies. Our students acquire self-organisation skills and learn to continue developing their knowledge and abilities independently.  

Outstanding teaching methods

Flipped Classroom, Problem-based Learning (PBL), Project-based Learning and Enquiry-based Learning are educational concepts proven to promote competences and the learning process comprehensively. Every year, the ZHAW teaching award is presented for outstanding performances in teaching. The Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching is presented every three years. Thanks to in-house continuing education courses, successful concepts such as these are increasingly used in the development of teaching approaches at the ZHAW.