02 SES 07 A, Permeability and Recognition of Prior Learning
The proposed paper discusses the importance of recognising and certifying tacit skills and informal competences in the workplace, specifically addressing a gap in the research dealing with approaches to identifying and ascertaining tacit skills and competences in relation to specific occupational areas. The paper draws on the findings from the project “I CARE - Informal Competences Assessment and Recognition for Employment funded by the European Commission in the Lifelong Learning Leonardo da Vinci Programme, coordinated by TECLA Association (Italy) in partnership with a group of local authorities, Universities and research institutions from Italy, Romania, United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The project aimed at promoting innovative procedures for the recognition and certification of informal competences and for the transparency of qualifications, within common framework such as EQF (European Qualification Framework) and ECVET (The European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training).
The recognition and assessment of tacit skills within a specific occupational area is an important contribution to the process of accreditation and recognition of prior learning for particular qualifications. Prior learning can be learning acquired formally, non-formally and/or informally, however it is learning that has not been fully acknowledged or accredited. The paper discusses the need for acknowledging and recognising prior learning as a vital part of the process of assessing tacit skills and competences within a range of contexts.
Capturing and evaluating tacit skills and equating them within the relevant occupational context in order to demonstrate the level of competence will contribute to the capacity of learners to demonstrate that they can meet the assessment requirements for a unit through knowledge, understanding or skills they already possess. However, before such skills could be accredited towards a credit or qualification, they need to be elicited, assessed and matched against specifications of particular occupational competences. Therefore, as the paper argues, there is a need for the development of a methodological framework that would allow the capture and contribution to the assessment of the informal competences as a part of the accreditation process in relevant contexts and settings. The research aims to contribute to the development of a methodological approach for eliciting and capturing tacit skills and informal competences through graphical modelling of the process of evaluating of competences and identifying the links between competences. The study has employed the Dynamic Concept Analysis (DCA) modelling method (Kontiainen 2002) that can be used as a tool to build conceptual models for capturing informal competences and demonstrating the ways in which these skills could be recontextualised and made visible in new contexts. In adopting this perspective, we argue that tacit skills and informal competences could be used as a foundation to help people to acquire formal credit or qualification and to gain entry to/or progress within an occupational field.
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