MULTISCALE APPROACH TO THE FORMATION OF AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERS’ COMPETENCIES
Universidad de La Laguna (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:It is widely recognized that reality, in general, and the field of action of the different disciplines in particular, behaves as a complex system. System insofar as it is the result of the interaction of innumerable elements and factors whose behavior is determined by these interactions, and complex insofar as this behavior faces a high degree of uncertainty (understood as the difference between what we expect to happen and what actually happens). The complexity and the derived uncertainty increase with the scale and extension of the sphere of action-influence. In the case of agronomists and other professionals related to the rural environment, the extension of the scope of action ranges from farm management to decision making in legislative development. In this context, the scope has to do with the number of agents that are affected by the decisions made by the technicians.
The notion of scale or extension is not integrated into the structure of engineering education, as elements of training, among other reasons, because it is considered that the skills and competences acquired operate with the same effectiveness at different scales and extensions. However, it has not been considered that as the scope of action increases, new properties and uncertainties appear that must be managed. Competences acquired for one scale-extent cease to be effective when applied to another scale.
With this paper we try to argue that the skills and competences acquired at smaller scales (e.g. farm management) are not the skills and competences needed to operate at larger scales (e.g. land use planning, public natural resource management, legislation and others). We argue that effective farm design-management competencies may be ineffective in legislative development or land management. We propose an approach to the tasks of agronomists from three different scales - extension, proposing different competences and skills for each of them. In this way, we want to provide elements of judgment for the development of training programs that take into account the different scales and their effect on the complexity and uncertainty that technicians face when making decisions, as a basis for their training in multiscale skills. We present two examples, one related to the livestock sector and the other related to water management.
Keywords: Decision making, rural environment, training programs.