Innovative Approach to Developing Competencies for Business Practice

Innovative Approach to Developing Competencies for Business Practice

Mojca Duh (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Maribor, Slovenia), Jernej Belak (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Maribor, Slovenia) and Tjaša Štrukelj (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Maribor, Slovenia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2708-5.ch019

Abstract

The book chapter introduces the research findings on the application of teaching methods in higher education in Slovenia that positively affect the process of developing students' transversal competences. The goal of the research was to explore the teaching methods that should be applied in the process of improving transversal competences of students in higher education, from two perspectives: developing students' transversal competences at institutions of higher education and demands of the labour market regarding the required qualifications of graduates. Namely, contemporary business practice recognises transversal competences as increasingly important, due to their impact on innovation and development of society and economy. Higher education institutions have important role when diminishing mismatches between students' competences and applicable requirements of the labour market.
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Introduction

Transversal competences that are defined as a “combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to situations to meet social aims” (Report O1 2016, pp. 12–13) are recognized as important at the labour market and in everyday life in Slovenia and evolve rapidly (PIAAC, 2013). Insufficient transversal competences in the population have significant impact to the prospects of innovation and to the development of society as well as economy. Several studies indicate that mismatches between competences and competence requirements of the labour market still exist (EC, 2014). High responsibility for development of transversal competences is especially at the higher education institutions and work places (Akkuyunlu, 2009a; 2009b). In the process of developing competences at the higher education institutions several teaching and training methods can be applied in order to make this process effective. It is estimated (Key competences, 2006) that 50% of new jobs will require tertiary level qualifications in the future. This is why our research and this book chapter is addressing innovative approach in developing competences for business practice, highlighting the Slovenia case of public higher education institution. According to Mulej et al. (2013), innovation is every novelty, which is recognised as useful by its users. This is the definition we were following when exploring competences and teaching methods, and conceptualizing the innovative approaches to the development of students’ competences required by business practice.

Slovenia has the second lowest early school leaving rate in the EU (Monitor Slovenia, 2015) and has increased its tertiary education attainment rate being today above the EU average. Regular monitoring of the level of competences attained in higher education institutions plays an important role in improving the educational process in higher education (HEGESCO, 2009). The framework of the main quality control mechanisms, which appeared as a result of interviews with higher education representatives in Slovenia (HEGESCO, 2009) can be classified as curricular evaluation, career centres, alumni activities, quality control systems, committees and boards, and learning outcomes. One of the most important control mechanisms of the Slovenian higher education quality are evaluations conducted by graduates and employers as well as competence or learning outcomes approach.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Innovation: According to Mulej et al. (2013) , innovation is every novelty, which is recognised as useful by its users. Thus, in this book chapter we are using term innovative approach as an approach, which brings its users’ benefits beyond benefits gained by usually used approaches; innovative development as a development, which helps to develop more than other modes of development; etc.

Competence: Term competence should be understood in the context of the combination of knowledge, tasks, skills and attitudes that compose ability and are required to do and complete tasks or (social) aims successfully.

Teamwork: Is a transversal competence, which is “a set of knowledge, skills and attitudes allowing to work in a way that is based on activity and commitment to tasks carried out by a group” ( Wiecek-Janka et al. 2017 , p. 14) (See also NN 2015 , p. 3; Report O2 2016, p. 7).

Entrepreneurship: Is a transversal competence, which is “a set of knowledge, skills and attitudes allowing to adapt to change, identify new opportunities of development and their critical evaluation, foresee and create new innovative solutions, take rational risk as well as implement and realize ideas” ( Wiecek-Janka et al. 2017 , p. 13) (See also NN 2015 , p. 3; Report O2 2016, p. 6).

Transversal Competences: Transversal competences are those interdisciplinary competences, which are requisitely holistic suitable for different work requirements and diverse tasks, transferable between organisations regardless of the size of an organisation, field of activity, industry etc., as well as for completing other (social) aims in many thematic areas.

Communicativeness: Is a transversal competence, which is “a set of knowledge, skills and attitudes relating to reliable transfer of information and establishment and maintenance of appropriate interpersonal relations which are the foundation of effective professional activity” ( Wiecek-Janka et al. 2017 , pp. 13–14) (See also NN 2015 , p. 3; Report O2 2016, p. 7).

Informal (Self) Learning: Informal (self) learning is a self-learning, for which a learner does not get any certification. “Informal learning is Intentional training (self-learning) and unintentional (occurring in everyday life, including time spent at work, except for formal and non-formal training); unorganized and non-systematic activities; all the ways in which we gain knowledge” 14 AU132: Endnote Reference 14 .

Creativity: Is a transversal competence, which is “a set of knowledge, skills and attitudes connected with the practical application of creative thinking in order to come up with original and useful solutions to problems and to develop new concepts” ( Wiecek-Janka et al. 2017 , p. 13) (See also NN 2015 , p. 3; Report O2 2016, p. 6–7).

Formal Learning: Formal learning is a learning in a formal, registered and in a public recognised institution, which ends with a formal diploma. “Formal learning is institutional and formal education implemented according to the programs that allow gaining qualifications recognized in given legal system” 12 AU131: Endnote Reference 12 .

Non-Formal Learning: Non-formal learning is a learning in a registered institution, which is able to issue a certificate of that learning. “Non-formal learning is institutional and formal education not related with qualifications (e.g. training based on the experience of enterprises, social organisations); planned, deliberate and systematic activities; courses and training” 13 AU133: Endnote Reference 13 .

Practical Teaching Methods: Practical teaching methods are methods of teaching, which interdependently connect theory with practical tasks and can be used as a tool towards transversal competences development.

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