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Frameworks of competence: common or specific?

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Grant, S. (2006) Frameworks of competence: common or specific? . Presented at: TEN Competence Workshop, Sofia, Bulgaria, March 2006.

Appears in: Koper, R., & Stefanov, K. (Eds.) (2006). Learning networks for lifelong competence development. Proceedings of International Workshop in Learning Networks for Lifelong Competence Development. March, 30-31, 2006. Sofia, Bulgaria: TENCompentence Conference.. Pages 111-116.


Simon Grant
Independent consultant; JISC-CETIS Portfolio SIG


Examples of what are known as frameworks of skill or competence suggest a range of requirements which might be met by such frameworks, for organisations, individuals and educational institutions. However, there are two opposing tendencies in framework development: towards different, context-specific frameworks and towards common, shared frameworks. The approach to resolving this, suggested here and prefigured in the JISC-funded SPWS project, is to make a clear distinction between the common and specific approaches, focusing agreement onto common frameworks for reference, while allowing divergence between specific frameworks for application and implementation. This may resolve the tension and allow both common and specific frameworks to flourish. Pointers are given for working towards this. Standards in the area need further development. E-learning tools, including e-portfolio systems, need to build in support for this two-component approach to frameworks of competence.


Skill, competence, frameworks, e-learning tools, e-portfolio systems


1. Introduction

2. Requirements for competence frameworks

3. Critique

4. The key issue: common v. specific frameworks

5. Strategies for fulfilling the requirements and resolving the central issue

6. Conclusions and further work


[1] Strivens, J. & Grant, S. (2000). Integrated Web-based support for learning employability skills. In: Educational Technology and Society 3 (1) January 2000. ISSN 1435-4522. Also available from: http://www.ifets.info/journals/3_1/strivens.html

[2] Grant, S., Marshall, A. & Strivens, J. (2005). Implementation of a portable skills framework. In: A. Méndez-Vilas, B. González-Pereira, J. Mesa González, J.A. Mesa González (eds), Recent Research Developments in Learning Technologies (2005), FORMATEX, Badajoz, Spain. Available at: http://www.formatex.org/micte2005/96.pdf via: http://www.formatex.org/micte2005/book.htm

[3] Towards a European qualifications framework for lifelong learning. Commission staff working document. Brussels, 8.7.2005 Available at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/policies/2010/doc/consultation_eqf_en.pdf via http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/policies/educ/eqf/index_en.html

[4] Grant, S. (2005). SPWS: Introducing the Skills Meta-Framework. SPWS project deliverable. http://www.elframework.org/projects/spws/SPWS-meta-framework-final.pdf/view is as delivered; http://www.inst.co.uk/clients/jisc/SPWSintro.doc is a maintained version.

[5] Pepper, S. (2000). The TAO of Topic Maps. Available at: http://www.ontopia.net/topicmaps/materials/tao.html

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