Interoperability Issues for Systems Managing Competency Information: A Preliminary Study

Interoperability Issues for Systems Managing Competency Information: A Preliminary Study

Bernard Blandin (Université Paris Ouest and CESI Group, France), Geoffrey Frank (RTI International, USA), Simone Laughton (University of Toronto Mississauga Library, Canada) and Kenji Hirata (Toyo University, Tokyo, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-789-9.ch005
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This chapter has four sections. The first one describes how the needs for interoperability in exchanging competency information have been addressed so far. The second part adopts a “Digital Services Supply Chain” approach and discusses the issues related to the exchange of competency information across systems regarding this approach. The third part is the core part of this chapter. It describes the 4 levels of the proposed approach: the Conceptual Reference Model (CRM), the Semantic Model, the Information Model and the Data Model. The final section presents the research directions currently envisaged, and the research programme needed to make the proposed approach operational.
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How The Need For Interoperability Across Digital Services Supply Chains Has Been Addressed So Far

Competency management has become a core issue in learning, education and training (LET). Research is ongoing within the field of education regarding the structuring and integration of competencies and skills in systems that support learning and education within countries as well as transnationally (Pacquette et al., 2007; Najjar & Klobučar, 2009). In the Human Resources Management (HRM) field during the last quarter of the 20th century we have seen extensive development of the use of IT systems; and, electronic processing of competency information has been progressively incorporated into daily operations within companies' Human Resources (HR) departments. Driven by international organisations like OECD, the shift from “knowledge-oriented” education to “competency-oriented” education has gained prominence in the academic area in the last three decades of the 20th century (Gardiner, 1994 cited in Sauber et al., 2008).

Knowledge sharing, innovative technology transfer, and lifelong learning are viewed as three key strategies that have the potential to enable humankind to successfully meet the challenges that are being encountered and that will be encountered in the years to come (Namara et al., 2007; Sherwood & Covin, 2008; Om, Lee, & Chang, 2007). However, underlying structures and technologies need to be in place in order to support the communication and connections required to work together to develop and apply skills and knowledge in a manner that is ethical and sustainable (Morgan, Raidén, Naylor, G. 2008; Beer & Meethan, 2007; Bernstein & Cashore, 2007). Competency acquisition in the Knowledge society requires adaptive, flexible learning systems that support individual human development across multiple contexts, - education systems, work environments, informal learning opportunities, etc. (Pacquette et al., 2007). Interoperability between IT systems managing competency information in different sectors (companies, schools and universities, employment agencies, etc.) has become a critical issue.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Conceptual Reference Model (CRM): Provides definitions and a formal structure for describing the implicit and explicit concepts and relationships within a system.

Interoperability: Ability of two or more IT Systems to exchange information and to make mutual use of the information that has been exchanged.

Competency Information: Structured data about a competency that is communicated among individuals, organizations, and public administrations.

Competency Information Object: Set of competency information.

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