An M.Sc. in Educational Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is a scientist who specializes in guidance and support of change processes and the design of learning environments in educational settings. Educationalists investigate and provide coaching and counselling for teachers, trainers, educators, managers, and policy makers in education to ensure that ‘learning and development’ take place in the best possible conditions, in line with predefined educational goals. Based on this expertise, the educationalist contributes to (1) improving the educational practices of individual teachers or trainers, (2) improving individual and collective learning trajectories for educational staff, (3) improving the pedagogical approach of schools/organisations or educational programs, and (4) improving (dimensions of) an educational system.
Within an international and multicultural learning environment, the educationalist at the VUB specialises in research, design and support of change and innovation processes involving the initiation, implementation and continuation of educational practices and policies. In the field, they often act as facilitators applying an emancipatory vision, in close collaboration with professionals and relevant stakeholders. The principles applied by educationalists fit with the principles of Free Inquiry on a humanistic basis of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and, moreover, include an emancipatory vision of human development within a dynamic society.
We distinguish a basic attitude and three principal roles for the educationalist in our programme: the role of facilitator, innovator in practice and policy, and researcher.
The academic and professional attitude of the Master of Educational Sciences
1. Equipped with expert knowledge, the educationalist can critically analyse complex problems in the domain of innovation and change processes in education, with an open mind and without prejudice.
2. Within a dynamic and complex social context, the educationalist can use the knowledge in a creative and flexible way to develop solutions for such problems in close dialogue with relevant stakeholders.
3. The educationalist has the competence to find, select and process information and contribute to knowledge development in an international and multicultural professional and academic context.
4. The educationalist reflects critically on the own solutions and judgments, is aware of the limitations of (the own ) scientific research, acts according to empirical evidence and ethical deliberation, and aims at sustainable social well-being.
5. The educationalist can communicate scientific knowledge and solutions in the domain of educational sciences, and results of conducted research to colleagues, professionals and other target groups, in both writing and orally.
6. The educationalist is willing and able to develop the personal expertise continuously. The own active and creative contributions to knowledge production are an important part of this process.
7. Within a multidisciplinary professional environment, the educationalist can collaborate with others from an emancipatory perspective, shows respect for diversity and takes position against social exclusion.
Within the full complexity of authentic educational settings where the educationalist is expected to support professionals in the field of education. The educationalist
8. can assume a role as counsellor or consultant in designing, implementing, and evaluating innovations in education, as well as stimulating collaboration among professionals to articulate their own needs, their own educational goals, and their own meanings.
9. supports the learning and development of professionals in the field of educational sciences based on recent scientific findings in professional development and appropriate guidance techniques.
10. analyses, evaluates, and develops learning environments, learning materials and assessment procedures in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders.
Innovator in practice and policy role
Within the full complexity of authentic situations in educational organizations, the educationalist can
11. analyse and diagnose educational change processes within organisations based on evidence-based insights in change processes in education and in professional learning and development of teaching staff.
12. based on such analysis, propose interventions to improve processes of organisation development and change management.
13. act as designer and consultant for educational change and capacity building within an organisation on the level of a beginning professional.
14. evaluate and design curricula and/or learning pathways in organizations, or support professionals to do it.
15. lead in such a way that partners and team members are stimulated, motivated, and empowered.
16. critically analyse the underpinning ideologies, aims and outcomes of education systems, philosophies, and practices. Faced with the challenges of a globalising society, the educationalist can formulate a justified and evidence-based opinion.
17. give advice on, or collaborate in policy development regarding curricula, innovation in education, and the professional development of teachers and educators.
The educationalist can
18. use the common and appropriate research methods within both the empirical analytical and the interpretative research paradigm.
19. identify a social and scientifically relevant research topic, formulate appropriate research questions, design an appropriate research design, apply the research methods and techniques in educational sciences, describe and discuss the results, formulate conclusions, and report the research findings