Characteristics of learning trajectories

Definition, structure, function, user context, target group and curriculum elements



Learning trajectories have a number of specific characteristics when it comes to building, user context and target group. These attributes are directly related to the function of a learning trajectory. The following sections focus on the definition of learning trajectoriesvand also the characteristics.

This is an automatically translated page. The original can be found at Strijker, A. (2010). Kenmerken van leerlijnen.


Learn how lines are specifics of school curricula. Thijs and van den akker (2009) give an overview of the issues that curriculum development. In the design and development of learning lines subject to the same attention as for curriculum development, and the following curriculum elements distinct.

Tabel 1 Curriculum elements




Why are they learning?

Aims and objectives

Towards which goals are they learning?


What are they learning?

Learning activities

How are they learning?

Teacher role

How is the teacher facilitating their learning?

Materials and resources

With what are they learning?


With whom are they learning?


Where are they learning?


When are they learning?


How is their learning assessed?

In recent years, learning lines or continuous learning lines developed in many of these projects of SLO, publishers and others. This also included several definitions. For example, the Aarnoutse and audit11 English (Verhoeven, 2003) the definition: “a in the main, leerlijn describes the development and learning processes that children go through on the basis of education”. In addition, Freudenthal Institute (hits, van den Heuvel-Panhuizen and Buys, 2004) for designing learning lines the following principles: contained a leerlijn has three components: 

  • the content line-education content that deals with achtereenvolgens
  • the education smoothline vakdidactische instructions
  • the line of the learning-global overview of the learning process of the students

 From these definitions and principles is that the role and application of learning lines per situation is different. According to Letschert (2008) continuous learning lines may refer to:

  • the learning of the apprentice
  • the continuity of the type of academic content in an educational,
  • the continuity between the different types of education.

There can therefore be learning lines developed greater consistency and continuity over many years by learning to indicate, for example, as regards the subject, but also specifically for an individual from a leerling leerlijn. Learning lines is also used to record and teaching resources to education through a particular vakdidactiek.  

A definition which responds to the wide variety of applications, it is not easy. In future developments on learning lines a unique concepts to, everyone is aware of a definition of learning lines formulated on the basis of existing learning and discussion with inhoudsdeskundigen in the area of curriculum development, publishing and trade unions. The definition provided by SLO (2010) is used as follows:  

A learning trajectory is a reasoned structured set of learning objectives and content leading to a certain aim.

Depending on the exact function, use context and audience curricula vary in the extent to which different implications for curriculum elements are developed.


The definition focuses on learning objectives and content of, and explicitly in the second part to the variety of applications and context. At the same time this shows that in the design of learning lines must be used to enumerate the choices we make when it comes to the function, gebruikscontext, target group and implications for the various elements of the curriculum leerlijn.

Construction, user context and target group

Learning can be built in a variety of ways. The vision of education within an institution such as a school is a determining factor. Consider the way in which the objectives, content and learning activities are offered by teachers. This affects a planning in time, complexity, themes, concepts, issues, progress of the student and educational approach and combinations. In the case of continuous learning lines, the planning of objectives, for example, in the eight years of learning in the primary education or on different sectors. TULE (SLO, 2008) shows how different boxes learning can be worked out with subsidiary aims in the primary education. The European framework of reference for languages (ERK, 2009) provides a framework of level descriptions of modern foreign languages. The construction of learning lines can therefore take place at different levels. With regard to curriculum levels described as shown in table 2  

Tabel 2 Curriculum levels and curriculum products





Landoverstijgend, international

 • European framework of reference for foreign language teaching


System, national

• Nuclear targets, at the end of terms

• Examenprogramma’s


School, training

• School werkplan

• Training programme


Group, teacher

• Lesson plans, teaching materials

• Module, learning process

• Textbook method


Leerling, individualsʼ

• Personal learning plan

• Individual leerweg


The table shows a clear difference in function and implementation of the curriculum. For the development and use of learning lines will have to be taken into account. 

The definition describes a leerlijn as a rational construction of subsidiary aims and content, leading to a final objective. In the Netherlands are the core objectives for the po and the core objectives and for the vo, culminating in the formulation of final objectives for learning lines. Goals are in most cases, associated with it. Content relate to what can be learned and, for example, boxes, learning areas and themes such as the ten periods in history.

There can therefore be developed multiple learning lines of different intermediate targets must also be able to use. It can also be the case that there are several parallel learning lines that are relevant to a final objective. It is also possible that, for example, highly gifted pupils subsidiary aims are to be skipped, they go through or alternative subsidiary aims more quickly.

For continuing education in the primary, and the core goals and be used to end lines for learning objectives. The core objectives and to use as a starting point for the formulation of final objectives and subsidiary aims can also be coherence and continuity. The impact of these developments for primary education in tule, return a starting point how nuclear targets can be translated into subsidiary aims and learning lines.


The function of a leerlijn may vary by context. The context in the form of school or educational institution is a determining factor in the application of learning lines, for example, by differences in vision, target group and learning activities. Table 3 shows the different ways of learning lines in functions.


Tabel 3 Functions of learning trajectories




A leerlijn can organize thematic topics, in order to integrate parts of boxes and horizontal links between boxes.


A leerlijn is about different learning years, and between sectors vertical cohesion support. Also: connecting to international reference frames.


A leerlijn is on the basis of roostertechnische frames to organize learning lines in order to bring in placements or external projects.


A level can be differentiated in leerlijn of ducobu, alternatives to gifted education, individual learning lines for difficult lerenden. On the basis of leerling-profielen organise learning lines in order to be consistent with the level and interests of students.

Studieloopbaan guidance

A leerlijn, a studieloopbaan, and the progress of the student support, for example, on the basis of a personal development plan.

Education approach

A leerlijn can be based on a specific teaching level.

For the record

A leerlijn can provide in this case structure.


In many cases, several features combined within a leerlijn. This is continuity and coherence in many learning lines if expressly point of departure.