Towards common semantics for competencies & portfolios


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presentation for Berlin Symposium on Competencies, 2008-12-03

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Towards common semantics for competencies & portfolios

  1. 1. Towards common semantics for competencies & portfolios <ul><ul><li>Simon Grant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>JISC Centre for Educational Technology and Interoperability Standards (CETIS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Berlin Symposium on Competencies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2008-12-03 </li></ul></ul>
  2. 2. Common starting points? <ul><li>We can usefully distinguish the following things.... </li></ul><ul><li>(Impersonal) definitions of competency, ability, skill, knowledge, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Requirements for them in jobs </li></ul><ul><li>Personal aspirations to acquire them </li></ul><ul><li>Personal claims to have acquired them </li></ul><ul><li>Courses that have them as intended outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence that a person has them, including </li></ul><ul><ul><li>assessments (and results) relating to them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>qualifications, certificates that formalise assessment results </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. My starting points – from 1997 <ul><li>Employability skills in LUSID (& related e.g. RAPID) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Janet Strivens, Adam Marshall, University of Liverpool </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Portfolio approach, now increasingly common </li></ul><ul><li>Requirements in practice include </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Noting desired competences; plans to work towards them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cross-linking competences and experiences etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>these experiences may or may not serve as evidence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Claiming competence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Noting evidence of a claim </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>qualifications or other achievements </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>learning outcomes for completed course </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>test or assessment results </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. To claim a competency... <ul><li>I write a claim, or (not so good) make implicit claim </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There is no inherent predefined structure to these claims </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Just a piece of text </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I assemble evidence for the claim </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evidence is for the claim, not for the competency definition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The evidence can in principle be of any kind </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Those who want to see the evidence (e.g. employers) may specify the kind of evidence they want to see </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I present the claim, with appropriate evidence, to interested people </li></ul>
  5. 5. So what might be transported? <ul><li>The claim </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The less clearly defined the competency definition, the more work the claim has to do to in clarification </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Including a reference to the competency claimed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Should be same as that referred to in requirement (job etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ideally, common and recognised URI </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>but are there common URIs? See later slide... </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The relevant and appropriate evidence </li></ul><ul><li>All this fits comfortably into the LEAP2 approach </li></ul><ul><ul><li>LEAP2A for agreed Atom-based format </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>other LEAP2 formats possible, e.g. XHTML+RDFa </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Competency definitions <ul><li>The need to share these has been clear for a long time </li></ul><ul><li>Ideally defined outside and referred to in portfolios </li></ul><ul><ul><li>but sometimes people want to define their own </li></ul></ul><ul><li>UK National Occupational Standards are good examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They do not fit easily into IEEE RCD / IMS RDCEO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They do not fit easily into HR-XML 2.* </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But they can be represented as XHTML+RDFa, if combined with other Semantic Web methods, resulting in </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>human readable fully formatted text </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>RDF easily extracted for machine processing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to persuade bodies to put them on Web with URIs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What kind of specification do we really need? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Competency cross-references <ul><li>Groups are going to define their own competencies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Really, surely, yes they are! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This would lead to a Babel of meaninglessness, unless... </li></ul></ul><ul><li>...they cross-refer to other definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Software needs to process these cross-references </li></ul><ul><ul><li>So how about again using SKOS? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Timely: nearly a W3C Recommendation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>skos:exactMatch – trust other's equivalences </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>skos:closeMatch – not sure about other's equivalences </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>skos:broadMatch – ours is better than theirs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>skos:narrowMatch – ours may contribute to theirs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Would be vital model / method / tool </li></ul>
  8. 8. So... <ul><li>Touched on competency descriptions and exchange, but for more detail... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>... we now need to refer to employers and academics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Suggested some points for future common semantic framework... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>... we now need to hear how existing “methods / tools / models / ontologies” might fit together </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pointed out some key connections between competencies and portfolios... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>... we now need to follow up “lessons ..., requirements, scenarios, indicators” </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Thanks... <ul><li>Thanks for your attention </li></ul><ul><li>I look forward to creative discussion </li></ul>