Competence development in VET. A comparative analysis of intended and implemented curricula in the field of business administration

In the international research on Vocational Education and Training (VET), there is an increasing number of studies on systems and structures of VET. However, research on concrete planning and implementation of vocational education and training processes is very limited. The CodeVET project intends to conduct a comparative study in order to investigate the competence-based approach in intended und implemented curricula of VET programs in the field of business administration in Russia and China and to compare them to German VET. The main objective of the project is to investigate whether and how elements of competence orientation are established in both curricular design and implementation in the classroom in these countries. Furthermore, different proficiency and achievement levels of VET students can be explained. A further objective is to develop and apply a research methodology for analysing and comparing curriculum in international comparative vocational education and training research.

In the international curriculum research, the curriculum is often divided into three dimensions: intended curriculum (a series of formal documents that regulate learning processes), implemented curriculum (teaching-learning processes) and achieved curriculum (learning outcomes of learners). Various scientific results show that between these three dimensions can occur significant discrepancies, which negatively affect the intended learning outcomes. An important goal of various reforms and modernisation activities in the field of vocational education and training is to reduce these discrepancies. Therefore, in many countries the competence-based approach in curricula formulation, teaching-learning processes and learning outcomes assessment are seen as an important approach for reducing these discrepancies.

Central research question of the CodeVET project is: To what extent and how are the elements of the competence-based approach integrated in the didactic-curricular planning and didactic-methodological implementation of teaching and learning processes and how can they be further developed in Russia and China?

To analyse the competence orientation in intended and implemented curricula and possible discrepancies, a mix of data collection and analysis methods will be applied. The criteria for the investigation of competence-orientation will be derived from an analysis of the relevant German, Russian, Chinese and English literature. These criteria will be further used to conduct a content analysis of the intended curriculum. Subsequently the supranational results will be compared. In the next phase, the reality of the teaching practice will be examined by using the method of structured class observation in selected vocational schools in both countries. The previously developed criteria will be embedded in the observation sheets. Afterwards, the teachers observed in class will be interviewed on the topic of their understanding and implementation of the competence orientation. The observations of lessons will include ten class hours at six different schools in both countries (a total of at least 120 class hours). The interviews will be conducted with at least two teachers per school (at least 24 interviews in total).



Project details and contact

Further project descriptions can be found on the website of the University of Cologne or the University of Osnabrück.



01.04.2019 - 31.10.2022


Funding reference number

Teilvorhaben Russland: 01BF18001A

Teilvorhaben China: 01BF18001B


Contact persons

Prof. Dr. Dietmar Frommberger

Prof. Dr. Matthias Pilz


Project management

Prof. Dr. Dietmar Frommberger 

Prof. Dr. Matthias Pilz


Project team members

Anastasia Goncharova 

Pujun Chen 


Cooperating institutions (national and international):


  • University of Cologne
  • University of Osnabrück