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Towards common semantics for competencies & portfolios


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

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

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