Competence modelling and learning outcomes


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presentation at the Organic Autumn School, Mesta, Chios, 2011-10-07

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Competence modelling and learning outcomes

  1. 1. Competence modelling and learning outcomes Simon Grant University of Bolton, JISC CETIS Organic Autumn School, Mesta, Chios 2011-10-07
  2. 2. Summary <ul><li>What does it take to be a competent organic farmer? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your expertise, not mine! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can we structure the definitions of that competence? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We will explore this together in discussion </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>How can we educate and train for this? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>And how does competence relate to learning outcomes? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What reference resources could help us... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>understand competence structuring better? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>create competence structures within organic agriculture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>write intended learning outcomes for courses? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Materials for learners are covered in different sessions) </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Intended learning outcomes <ul><li>Better practical ability to model competence and define intended learning outcomes in the chosen field </li></ul><ul><li>supported by greater underlying knowledge about: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>concepts of knowledge, skills, competence as in the EQF </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>assessability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>how to model competence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>characteristics of good learning outcomes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the eCOTOOL competence model </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>reference resources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Assessment of whether these learning outcomes have been achieved will be just by yourselves! </li></ul>
  4. 4. Competence in organic farming <ul><li>We will start with open discussion about this so that we all know where we are starting from </li></ul><ul><li>What does it take to be a competent organic farmer? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In what ways would agreement on this help collaboration? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Some questions to help with discussion: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who knows about which relevant areas of competence? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Exercise: start explaining to me and to others </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can we identify knowledge and abilities separately? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How can these be assessed? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When assessed, it is </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>EITHER Yes, people have this or No, they don't yet have it </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>OR people can have more or less of this ability </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Review of key concepts <ul><li>European Qualification Framework (EQF) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>defines Learning Outcomes, Knowledge, Skills, Competence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>take a look at the EQF definitions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Competence as “the ability to do what is required” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use knowledge and skills to perform function in work context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competence also involves discrimination, or choice in context </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Skills apply knowledge, and may be practised </li></ul><ul><ul><li>in service of a work function </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>for fun, personal satisfaction, learning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>try testing these with examples </li></ul>
  6. 6. Assessability <ul><li>“ Binary” - yes or no; competent now or not yet </li></ul><ul><li>“ Rankable” - people can have more or less of it </li></ul><ul><li>Levels set binary reference points in a rankable ability </li></ul><ul><li>let's think of some examples here </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge is assessable in many forms of test </li></ul><ul><li>Skills are assessable given the right materials </li></ul><ul><li>Competence is assessable only in realistic situations </li></ul><ul><li>how do you assess skills and competence? </li></ul>
  7. 7. UK NOS <ul><li>National Occupational Standards </li></ul><ul><li>see Carroll & Boutall (2011) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Guide to Developing National Occupational Standards” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cover very many occupational areas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>though not explicitly organic farming </li></ul></ul><ul><li>See e.g. the Production Horticulture NOS (2008) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>or others listed at </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Have you used or studied anything similar? </li></ul>
  8. 8. NOS structure <ul><li>NOS unit or “standard” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>unique reference number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>title </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>overview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>performance criteria (“you must be able to...”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a verb; rest of description </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>another verb; rest of description </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>knowledge and understanding (facts, principles, methods) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a thing to know or understand </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>another thing to know or understand </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>... </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. eCOTOOL competence model A <ul><li>Form A: detailing each ability item by itself </li></ul><ul><ul><li>action verb and rest of short description </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>classification as knowledge, skill or competence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>unique ID code (for cross-reference) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>author/authority (that may be you) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>level assignments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>to European, national, or sectoral schemes or frameworks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>other categorisation, if needed or helpful </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>full description </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>this should give enough detail so that people can understand that it is assessable, and what approaches might be taken to assessment </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. eCOTOOL competence model B <ul><li>Form B: structure information (assumes Form A) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ability item short description </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>unique ID code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>author/authority (of structure information) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>for each narrower concept: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>short description </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>unique ID code </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>necessary / optional </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Each component can be treated as an ability item in its own right, with its own Form A </li></ul>
  11. 11. eCOTOOL competence model C <ul><li>Form C: level definition information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(unlevelled) ability item short description </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>unique ID code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>author/authority (of level definition information) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>for each level: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>definition or criteria </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>level label </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>level number </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Each level can be treated as ability item in its own right </li></ul><ul><li>Typically </li></ul><ul><ul><li>unlevelled items are assessable as rankable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>levels are assessable as binary </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Education and training <ul><li>Courses usually select some aspect of competence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>and what can be learned on a course, anyway? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Baume (2009, for Leeds Metropolitan University) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Writing and using good learning outcomes” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A good learning outcome should be: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Active – it describes what students can do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attractive – students want to achieve it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comprehensible – students know what it means </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appropriate – to the student’s current goals and career plans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attainable – most students will mostly meet it, with due effort </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessable – we can see if it has been achieved </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Europass Certificate Supplement <ul><li>One focus of the eCOTOOL project </li></ul><ul><li>Lists “profile of skills and competences” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>typical of people who have completed a course successfully </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Should relate to learning outcomes ... </li></ul><ul><li>… and also to skills and competence </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. the Greek CS: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Organic – ecological agriculture technician </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What would you expect the course to be like? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are they good learning outcomes? </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Questions? <ul><li>Clarify questions so far before moving on to the exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Short break if appropriate </li></ul>
  15. 15. Exercise objective <ul><li>Aim to write intended learning outcomes for your training scenario </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This will be useful for the rest of this event </li></ul></ul><ul><li>By engaging with the exercise, you will understand more from your own experience of the challenges of relating </li></ul><ul><ul><li>intended learning outcomes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>occupational or vocational competence </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discussion during the exercise, with peers and course facilitators, will help develop a critical awareness of the issues </li></ul>
  16. 16. Exercise method <ul><li>Team up with (ideally) one other course attendee </li></ul><ul><li>You can work on either or both of your scenarios </li></ul><ul><li>Choose some genuine occupational abilities that are required in practice by employers as a basis </li></ul><ul><li>You may document these with eCOTOOL Form A </li></ul><ul><li>Give these structure by decomposing them, for which you may use eCOTOOL Form B </li></ul><ul><li>From this structure, select suitable items as the intended learning outcomes for your training scenario </li></ul><ul><li>Check they are assessable and generally good </li></ul>
  17. 17. Further questions for thought <ul><ul><li>These are all questions of genuine interest that I would like to know answers to! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How will you explain to employers the relevance of the intended learning outcomes of your training scenario? </li></ul><ul><li>How will you relate your training to European or national level schemes, frameworks, funding, and professional development? </li></ul><ul><li>How will you express the prerequisites for your training? </li></ul><ul><li>How would you arrange on-the-job development that starts from your learning outcomes and leads to real occupational competence? </li></ul>
  18. 18. Reference resources <ul><li>National Occupational Standards, or similar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sectoral agreements defining occupational competence </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Europass Certificate Supplements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>skill and competence outcomes of courses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Carroll & Boutall (2011) guide to developing NOS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>good explanation of functional analysis (supplied) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Baume (2009) guide to good learning outcomes </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>eCOTOOL project outputs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>starting from the high-level competence model explanation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>My “logic of competence” blog posts </li></ul>
  19. 19. Thanks... <ul><li>... for your attention </li></ul><ul><li>... for any feedback you may be able to give </li></ul><ul><ul><li>either now </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>or send to me at </li></ul></ul>