AGENCY, EXPERTISE AND WORKING LIFE SKILLS - STUDENTS’ CONCEPTIONS OF THE GENERIC COMPETENCES REQUIRED IN THE WORLD OF WORK

Sanna Brauer, Ilkka Ratinen, Kaisu Kumpulainen, Outi Kyrö-Ämmälä, Leena Nikander, Ilkka Väänänen

Abstract


Fundamental changes in working life highlight the demands on the co-operation between the educational sector and working life, that should contribute to students’ employability. In addition to discipline-specific expertise, the development of working life skills has received increasing attention when it comes to employment. Drawing on data from Finnish universities of applied sciences (n=5) and universities (n=3), this paper examines how students (n=380) value the generic competences needed in in the world of work. The study is based on European reforms of labour markets and educational structures. This paper adds to current discourses around employability by highlighting differences between students of universities and universities of applied sciences. The implications of this research suggest paying attention to the concepts of agency, expertise and working life skills as outlined in the integrative pedagogy model, as well as emphasising the requirement for soft skills and generic competences needed in working life.

Article visualizations:

Hit counter


Keywords


competence-based orientation, employment, generic competence, working life skills, higher education

Full Text:

PDF

References


Annala, J., Lindén, J., Mäkinen, M., & Henriksson, J. (2021). Understanding academic agency in curriculum change in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2021.1881772

Annala, J. & Mäkinen, M. (2017). Communities of practice in higher education: Contradictory narratives of a university-wide curriculum reform. Studies in Higher Education, 42(11), 1941–1957. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2015.1125877

Badcock, P. B.T., Pattison, P., & Harris, K-L. (2010). Developing generic skills through university Study: A Study of arts, science and engineering in Australia. Higher education, 60, 441–458. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-010-9308-8.

Bandura, A. (1999). Social cognitive theory: an agentic perspective. Asian Journal of Social Psychology 2, 21–41. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-839X.00024.

Barnett, R. & Coate, K. (2005). Engaging the curriculum in higher education. McGraw-Hill Education.

Billett, S. (2001). Knowing in practice: re-conceptualising vocational expertise. Learning and instruction, 11, 431–452. https://doi.org/:10.1016/S0959-4752(00)00040-2

Beneitone, P. & Bartolomé, E. (2014). Global generic competences with local ownership: a comparative study from the perspective of graduates in four world regions. Tuning Journal for Higher Education, 1(2), 303–334. https://doi.org/10.18543/tjhe-1(2)-2014pp303-334

Bereiter, C. (2005). Education and Mind in the Knowledge Age. Routledge

Biesta, G. & Tedder, M. (2007). Agency and learning in the lifecourse: Towards an ecological perspective. Studies in the Education of Adults, 39, 132-149. https://doi.org/10.1080/02660830.2007.11661545.

Blackmore, P. & Kandiko, C. (2012). Strategic Curriculum Change. Global Trends in Universities. Routledge.

Cajander, Å., Daniels, M. & McDermott, R. (2012). On valuing peers: Theories of learning and intercultural competence. Computer science education, 22(4), 319–342. https://doi.org/10.1080/08993408.2012.727710

Canning, R. (2013). Rethinking generic skills. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 4(2), 129–138. https://doi.org/10.3384/rela.2000-7426.rela9012.

Chan, R. (2016). Understanding the purpose of higher education: an analysis of the economic and social benefits for completing a college degree. Journal of Education Policy, Planning and Administration (JEPPA), 6(5), 1–40.

Clegg, S. (2008). Academic identities under threat? British Education Research Journal, 34(3), 329–345.

Davies, A., Fidler, D., & Gorbis, M. (2011). Future Work Skills 2020. Institute for the Future for University of Phoenix Research Institute. Palo Alto, California. http://www.iftf.org/uploads/media/SR-1382A_UPRI_future_work_skills_sm.pdf

Deardorff, D. (2006). The identification and assessment of intercultural competence as a student outcome of internationalization at institutions of higher education in the United States. Journal of Studies in International Education, 10, 241–266.

Dewey, J. (1988). The quest for certainty. In the Later Works 1925-1953, edited by Jo Ann Boyston and Stephen Edelston Toulmin.Vol.4. Southern Illinois University Press. (Original work published 1929)

Dreyfus, H., & Dreyfus, S. (1986). Mind Over Machine: The Power of Human Intuition in The Era of the Computer. Basil Backwell.

Ellström, P-E. (1997). The many meanings of occupational competence and qualification. Journal of European Industrial Training, 21(6/7), 266–273. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090599710171567.

Eteläpelto, A., Vähäsantanen, K., Hökkä, P., & Paloniemi, S. (2013). What is agency? Conceptualizing professional agency at work. Educational Research Review 10, 45–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2013.05.001

European Commission. (2020). The Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area. https://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/higher-education/bologna-process-and-european-higher-education-area_en

European Union. (2007). The key competentences for life long learning - European reference frame¬work. Retrieved from https://erasmusplus.org.uk/file/272/download

European Union, EU. (2017), Council conclusions on a renewed EU agenda for higher education, Official Journal of the European Union C429, 3-7.

European Union, EU. (2018), Recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning, Official Journal of the European Union C 189, 1-6.

Finnish National Agency for Education. (2019). The competences and skills in 2035 - The first results of the national forum for skills anticipation’s anticipation work. Reports and Reviews 2019:3. Grano Oy. https://www.oph.fi/sites/default/files/documents/osaaminen_2035.pdf

Fallows, S., & Steven, C. (2000). Building employability skills into the higher education curriculum: a university wide initiative. Education + Training, 42(2), 75–83. https://doi.org/10.1108/00400910010331620.

Gallifa, J., & Garriga, J. (2010). Generic competences in Higher Education: Studying their development in undergraduate social science studies by means of a specific methodology. Perspectives in Education, 28(3), https://doi.org/10.10520/EJC87585

Gilbert, R., Balatti, J., Turner, P., & Whitehouse, H. (2007). The generic skills debate in research higher degrees. Higher Education Research and Development, 23, 375–88.

Guile, D. (2002). Skill and work experience in the European knowledge economy. Journal of Education and Work, 15(3), 251–276. https://doi.org/10.1080/1363908022000012058-1.

Hakkarainen, K., Palonen, T., Paavola, S., & Lehtinen, E. (2004). Communities of networked expertise: Professional and educational perspectives. Elsevier Scientific Publ. Co.

Harteis, C., & Goller, M. (2014). New skills for new jobs: work agency as a necessary condition for successful lifelong learning. In T. Halttunen, M. Koivisto & S. Billett (ed.) Promoting, Assessing, Recognizing and Certifying Lifelong Learning, 37–56. Springer.

Isopahkala-Bouret, U., Rantanen, T., Raij, K., & Järveläinen, E. (2011). European qualifications Framework and the comparison of academically-oriented and professionally-oriented master's degrees. European Journal of Higher Education, 1(1), 22–38. https://doi.org/10.1080/21568235.2011.577180

Jiang, L., & Alexakis, G. (2017). Comparing students’ and managers’ perceptions of essential entry-level management competencies in the hospitality industry: an empirical study, Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism Education, 20, 32-46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhlste.2017.01.001

Jääskelä, P., Nykänen, S., & Tynjälä, P. (2018). Models for the development of generic skills in Finnish higher education. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 42(1), 130-142. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2016.1206858

Kallioinen, O. (2010). Defining and comparing generic competences in higher education. European Educational Research Journal, 9, 56–68.

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge University Press

Ministry of Education and Culture. (2018). Korkeakoulu- ja tiedepolitiikka ja sen kehittäminen [Development of Higher education and science policies]. https://minedu.fi/korkeakoulu-ja-tiedelinjaukset

Murtonen, M., Halttunen, T., Lappalainen, M., & Pyykkö, R. (2017). Osaamistavoitteet ja opetuksen suunnittelu [Learning outcomes and teaching planning]. In M. Murtonen (ed.) Opettajana yliopistolla – korkeakoulupedagogiikan perusteet, 178–195. Vastapaino.

Mäkinen, M., & Annala, J. (2010). Osaamisperustaisen opetussuunnitelman monet merkitykset korkeakoulutuksessa [The many meanings of the competence-based curriculum in higher education]. Kasvatus & Aika, 4(4), 41–61.

Mäntylä, R., & Haihu, K. (2014). Osaamisperustainen opetussuunnitelmatyö [The competence-based curriculum development]. In J. Kullaslahti & A. Yli-Kauppila (eds.) Osaamisperustaisuudesta tekoihin. Osaamisperustaisuus korkeakouluissa (ESR)-hankkeen loppujulkaisu, 62–73. University of Turku.

Nilsson, S. (2010). Enhancing individual employability: The perspective of engineering graduates. Education & Training (London), 52(6/7), 540-551. https://doi.org/10.1108/00400911011068487

OECD. (2019). Policy Responses to New Forms of Work, OECD Publishing, Paris. https://doi.org/10.1787/0763f1b7-en

Prawat, R. (1996). Constructivism, Modern and Postmodern. Educational Psychologist, 31(3–4), 215–225.

Pylväs, L. (2018). Development of vocational expertise and excellence in formal and informal learning environments. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 2353. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-03-0664-9

Pyykkö, R. (2014). Suomi osana Euroopan korkeakoulutusaluetta [Finland as part of the European Higher Education]. In J. Kullaslahti & A.Yli-Kauppila (eds.) Osaamisperustaisuudesta tekoihin. Osaamisperustaisuus korkeakouluissa (ESR)-hankkeen loppujulkaisu, 10–19. University of Turku.

Rhodes, T. (2012). Show me the learning: value, accreditation, and the quality of the degree: higher education now has both tools and frameworks for organizing and connecting teaching and learning in a meaningful way. Planning for Higher Education, 40(3), 36–42.

Rolandsson, B. (2020). Digital transformations of traditional work in the Nordic Countries. Report from the future of work: opportunities and challenges for the Nordic Models. The Nordic Council of Ministers. https://pub.norden.org/temanord2020-540/temanord2020-540.pdf

Russell, C., & Gregory, D. (2003). Evaluation of qualitative research studies. Evidence-Based Nursing, 6, 36-40.

Salas Velasco, M. (2014), Do higher education institutions make a difference in competence development? A model of competence production at university. Higher Education, 68(4), 503-523. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-014-9725-1

Sánchez Carracedo, F., Soler, A., Martín, C., López, D., Ageno, A., Cabré, J., Garcia, J., Aranda, J., & Gibert, K. (2018). Competency maps: an effective model to integrate professional competencies across a STEM curriculum. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 27(5), 448-468. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-018-9735-3

Sfard, A. (1998). On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one. Educational Researcher, 27(2), 4–13.

Shay, S. (2015). Curriculum reform in higher education: a contested space. Teaching in Higher Education, 20(4), 431–41.

SOSTRA. (2019). Adult Educators Most Important Soft Skills: The Result from the European Survey. https://sostra.eu/results/

Suleman, F. (2016). Employability skills of higher education graduates: little consensus on a much-discussed subject. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 228, 169–174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.07.025

Teichler, U. (2007). Does higher education matter? Lessons from a comparative graduate survey. European Journal of Education, 42, 11–34. www.jstor.org/stable/4543076

Tomlinson, M. (2007). Graduate employability and student attitudes and orientations to the labour market. Journal of Education and Work, 20(4), 285–304. https://doi.org/10.1080/13639080701650164

Tomlinson, M. (2017). Forms of graduate capital and their relationship to graduate employability. Education + Training, 59(4), 338-352. https://doi.org/10.1108/ET-05-2016-0090

Tuononen, T. (2019). Employability of university graduates. The role of academic competences, learning and work experience in the successful transition from university to working life. Helsinki studies in education, no 46. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-5123-0

Tuononen, T., Parpala, A., & Lindblom-Ylänne, S. (2017). The transition from university to working life. an exploration of graduates' perceptions of their academic competences. In E. Kyndt, V. Donche, K. Trigwell & Lindblom-Ylänne, S. (2017). Higher Education Transitions: Theory and Research, 238-253. Routledge - Taylor & Francis Group.

Tynjälä, P. (2007). Integratiivinen pedagogiikka osaamisen kehittämisessä [Integrative pedagogy in competence development]. In H. Kotila, A. Mutanen & M. V. Volanen (eds.) Taidon tieto, 11–36. Edita.

Tynjälä, P. (2018). Työpeda uudistaa oppimista [Work pedagogy renews learning]. https://www.tyopeda.fi/blogit/1-blogi-tynjala

Tynjälä, P., Heikkinen, H. L. T., & Kiviniemi, U. (2011). Integratiivinen pedagogiikka opetusharjoittelussa opettajan autonomisuuden tukena [Integrative pedagogy in teaching practice to support teacher’s autonomy]. Kasvatus, 42(4), 302–315.

Venance, S., LaDonna, K. & Watling, C. (2014). Exploring Frontline Faculty Experiences After a Curriculum Change. Medical Education, 48, 998–1007. https://doi.org/10.1111/medu.12529

Virtanen, A. & Tynjälä, P. (2013). Kohti työelämätaitoja kehittävää yliopistopedagogiikka - opiskelijoiden näkökulma [Towards university pedagogy that develops working life skills - students' perspective]. Journal of University Pedagogy, 20. https://yliopistopedagogiikka.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/yliopistopedagogiikka-2-13-virtanen-tynjc3a4lc3a4.pdf

Virtanen, A. & Tynjälä, P. (2019). Factors explaining the learning of generic skills: A study of university students´ experiences. Teaching in Higher Education, 24(7), 880-894. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2018.1515195

Virtanen, A, Tynjälä, P. & Eteläpelto, A. (2012). Factors promoting vocational students’ learning at work: study on student experiences. Journal of Education and Work, 27(1), 43-70. https://doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2012.718748

Vähäsantanen, K. & Eteläpelto, A. (2015). Professional agency, identity, and emotions while leaving one’s work organization. Professions and Professionalism, 5(3). https://doi.org/10.7577/pp.1394

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge University Press.

Ylijoki, O-H. & Ursin, J. (2013). The construction of academic identity in the changes of Finnish higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 38(8), 1135–1149.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejes.v8i5.3710

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2021 Sanna Brauer, Ilkka Ratinen, Kaisu Kumpulainen, Outi Kyrö-Ämmälä, Leena Nikander, Ilkka Väänänen

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright © 2015-2018. European Journal of Education Studies (ISSN 2501 - 1111) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing Group. All rights reserved.


This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms. All authors who send their manuscripts to this journal and whose articles are published on this journal retain full copyright of their articles. All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).