Models of Competences for the Real and Digital World

Models of Competences for the Real and Digital World

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3053-4.ch004
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The majority of countries and educational organizations have introduced the concept of learning outcomes and the related key competences or skills into their policy, programs, instructional planning, curricula and activities. The chapter, after an overview on knowledge processes, personal-social competences and significant related models (Frameworks of Twenty-First Century Learning, Key Competences for Lifelong Learning, Social and Emotional Learning, Approach to Learning), is focusing on digital literacy models (Digital Competence Framework for Citizens, ICT Competency Framework for Teachers, ICT Standards for Students), and finally is synthesizing two new 3D competency-based models: a specific one for the individual children's rights for the digital world (“Open Sesame”) and a general one for the educational community (“School of the Future International Academy”), respectively accompanied by examples.
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It has become prominent and commonplace that education worldwide, including learning, instruction, curricula, methodologies, resources and means, is changing due to several factors. Such factors are related to providing more motivated and student-centered pedagogical approaches; to connecting learning to real-life situations; to critically curating information from many sources; to being more aware of inequalities; to reshaping the role of the educator; to balancing between globalization and local traditions; to equipping children with the skills of the future, etc.

Research on learning, relevant to providing a comprehensive framework for the design of curricula and of instruction, has shown that these changes in education evolve around the notion of “how children learn.” Vosniadou (2001) suggested that it can be summed up with 12 principals, 8 of which are important for the present chapter, namely:

Principles focusing on cognitive factors:

  • Aiming towards understanding rather than memorization and drill

  • Relating/restructuring new information from prior knowledge

  • Being strategic

Principles as the basis of todays requested soft-skills:

  • Active personal involvement of learners

  • Social participation and student collaboration

Principles related to individual differences and motivational influences:

  • Developmental and individual differences

  • Engaging in self-regulation and being reflective

  • Creating motivated learners

The above three categories of principles are related to the basic pillars of knowledge, skills and values/attitudes, representing educational targeting goals and desirable learning outcomes. These objectives and outcomes can take place both in the real world and the everyday growing digital world. However, in modern classroom settings, there is a “hybrid” world where real and digital coexist and any kind of learning could happen. In this situation, the basic elements of learning could be sketched “unplugged” in Figure 1. More specifically:

  • The diagram on the left indicates that this real/digital world includes connected digital devices and services, where information is gathered, constructed and shared through the processing of data, producing knowledge which in turn is related to skills and competences.

  • The diagram on the right indicates that in the real/digital world, individuals or members of educational communities, every day design, implement and assess activities based on specific objectives, through processes or methodological approaches for achieving learning outcomes.

Figure 1.

The “un-plugged” basic elements of learning in the 21st Century


It should be evident that there is a need to interconnect competences and literacies with knowledge, skills and values/attributes, and thus to model the competences for the real and digital world, which is the objective of this chapter.

To achieve this objective, the chapter is structured into four sections, as follows: First there is a literature review related to “Knowledge Processes and Personal-Social Competences”, next there is a short description for selected “Competency-Based Models”, following by a description for selected “Digital Competences Models”. The final section synthesizes two new three-dimensional models concerned with “Children’s Rights for the Digital World” and the “School of the Future International Academy” (SoFIATM).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Environment: A context, or a “place”, that is enabled by technology and digital devices, often transmitted over the Internet, or other digital means, e.g., mobile phone network. Records and evidence of an individual's interaction with a digital environment constitute their digital footprint.

Skills: Means the ability to apply knowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems ( AU40: The URL has been redirected to Please verify the URL. ).

Cloud-Based Technologies: Are an integrated digital and online ways to access and manage any kind of content or human actions. It is referring to computing, to approaches, to environments and to applications, where managing any kind of information could be happen from a distance. Citizens could be able to work in teams, collect shared data, and organize information, with anyone, for anything, from anywhere, in anytime, on any device.

Knowledge: Is the outcome of the assimilation of information through learning; the body of facts, principles, theories and practices that is related to a field of work or study. Under a social-constructivist learning paradigm, “knowledge” is equated to having factual or procedural information about a topic ( AU39: The URL has been redirected to Please verify the URL. ).

Human Rights: Are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ).

Attitudes: Are conceived as the motivators of performance, the basis for continued competent performance; they include values, aspirations and priorities.

Paradigm: Is a framework containing the truths, the ideas, the assumptions, the rules, the ways of thinking, and the methods that are accepted by members of a scientific community, at a particular point in time.

Literacies: The term is used in this chapter with the meaning of the “knowledge of a particular subject or specified field”. There are many divisions or extensions of the term, such as: multi-literacies, inter-literacies, cultural literacies etc.

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