University of Lleida (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 5528-5536
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
The Bologna Declaration of June 1999 has put in motion a series of reforms needed to create a European Higher Education Area by 2010 ( ). In the Communiqué of the Conference of Ministers responsible for Higher Education in Berlin on 19 September 2003, the member States are encouraged to elaborate a framework of comparable and compatible qualifications for their higher education systems, which should seek to describe qualifications in terms of workload, level, learning outcomes, competences and profile. Ministers also urge Higher Education Institutions to enhance the possibilities for lifelong learning, including the recognition of prior learning.
This recommendations puts the education focus on the needs of students, who have to develop competences, with the teacher as a facilitator of learning.

Developing a competence-driven student-centered educational model as suggested in [1,2] is complex. On the one hand, it is necessary to rigorously define and plan academic subjects in terms of competences, measurable indicators for these competences, accomplishment degrees of the indicators and learning activities to achieve these competences. On the other hand, it is necessary to provide a rigorous and continuous evaluation process in order to determine the accomplishment degree of the competence indicators from the evidences provided by the student during the execution of the learning activities.
Therefore, given the complexity of the educational model, it is interesting to have available a set of technological tools for helping assistants during both the definition and planning of academic subjects and the continuous evaluation of learning activities.

Our aim in this work is to provide a formal model for representing competences, measurable indicators for these competences, accomplishment degrees of the indicators and the relationship between these elements for all the learning activities planned for an academic subject. This representation model must allow us to help the assistants during the evaluation process.

We suggest to use ontologies as formal model for representing competences, measurable indicators, accomplishment degrees and learning activities.
An ontology is a formal and consensual specification of knowledge; it introduces vocabulary describing various aspects of the domain being modeled and provides an explicit specification of the intended meaning of that vocabulary. Moreover, the specification can include relations among entities of the described domain. These feature allows us to specify relations between competences, measurable indicators, degrees of accomplishment and learning activities. Our main motivation for using ontologies as formal model of knowledge representation is that they allow to use software systems for automatically checking whether indicators validate the level of competence achieved.


[1] Sligte, H. W., & Koper, R. (2008). Empowering Learners for Lifelong Competence Development: pedagogical, organisational and technological issues. Proceedings of the 4th TENCompetence Open Workshop. April, 10-11, 2008, Madrid, Spain: SCO-Kohnstamm Instituut, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

[2] Yániz Álvarez de Eulate, C. y Villardón Gallego, L. Planificar desde competencias para promover el aprendizaje. El reto de la sociedad del conocimiento para el profesorado universitario. Universidad de Deusto, 2006.
european higher education area, competence, ontology.