Can we use a unified approach in modeling competences for all global citizens as lifelong learners, such as students and teachers, parents and leaders, administrators and policy makers? What are the main relations between competences, data, information, knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, objectives, processes, activities, outcomes? How learning outcomes, that express what individuals know, understand and are able to do, can be related with competences and qualifications? How can this modelling provide a comprehensive framework for learning and professional development in real-life situations, and, eventually, to prepare ourselves and our students for the present and the future needs?
The concepts related to "competences" and "skills" or "soft-skills" has increasingly gained importance for the lifelong learner, in order to develop a successful career and life in the Information Society of the 21st Century.
According to IGI Global Dictionary, although there are dozens of interpretations, there is no commonly accepted single definition of the term "competence" (e.g. Competence Models in Technology-enhanced Competence-based Learning). We focus on the following EC-based definition:
"Competences are defined here as a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the context. Key competences are those which all individuals need for personal fulfilment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment" (Key Competences for Lifelong Learning - European Reference Framework).
There are many frameworks for competences and related resources such as: P21 - Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21.org); "C21 Canada - Shifting Minds" (C21canada.org); "CompetencyWorks" (iNACOL Competencyworks.org); "Competency-Based Education Network" (C-BEN Cbenetwork.org), "Competencies and Academic Standards Exchange" (CASE www.imsglobal.org/case) etc. According to the Equinox Blueprint - Learning 2030 initiate, a well-rounded student will need to acquire the following 9 interlocking sets of basic skills and attitudes: self-understanding, systems and design thinking, collaboration, learning as a process, attitude, difference-making, informed decision-making, logical reasoning, and translating thought into action.
Competences can be expressed and understood in different ways, according to national context. Competences can also be both subject-based as well as transversal in nature. As a result, it is related to the literacies concept, which can be defined either as "the ability to read and write" or the "knowledge of a particular subject or specified field". We choose to mention very briefly the following models and frameworks for competences or literacies or qualifications:
- The "European Reference Framework" sets out 8 Key Competences for Lifelong Learning (as a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes), with examples such as Developing pupil competences through eTwinning.
- Τhe "European Qualifications Framework" (EQF) has the purpose to make qualifications more readable and understandable across different countries and systems. The core of the EQF is its eight reference levels defined in terms of learning outcomes, i.e. knowledge, skills and autonomy-responsibility. Learning outcomes express what individuals know, understand and are able to do at the end of a learning process.
- The "Social and Emotional Learning Model" of the World Economic Forum (WEF) describes 16 skills in three broad categories: foundational literacies, and character qualities.
- The "Future of Education and Skills 2030" (OECD) aims to help countries find answers to what knowledge, skills, attitudes and values are needed for today's students to thrive and shape their world, as well as how instructional systems can effectively develop them.
- The SoFIATM (School of the Future International Academy), as a synthesis of the previous models and Digital Taxonomies (details in: Models of Competences for the Real and Digital World) is based on the 3 principal pillars of competences: knowledge, skills and attitudes-values. Each pillar, as 2D pyramid, has 5 action verbs that can be associated with the goals/objectives or results/outcomes of a simple or complicated educational activities, as well as integrated literacies.
- The "Intercultural Competences: Conceptual and Operational Framework" (UNESCO).
More Models are mentioned in the Conference Paper: International perspectives on how education offers solutions to tackle skills mismatches and shortages.
Note: This post is based on the 4th Chapter of the IGI-Global Edition 2018: Educational Design and Cloud Computing in Modern Classroom Settings)
Yannis Kotsanis, 21/01/2019
Head of R&D Dept. Doukas School
R&D in Education Specialist, Member of the SEE Board