About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 8200-8207
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain


P. Gómez-Rey1, E. Barberà1, F. Fernández-Navarro2

1Open University of Catalonia (SPAIN)
2Universidad Loyola Andalucía (SPAIN)
In recent years, the landscape of quality in education has required a broader vision. Countries, through their educational politics, need to promote the key competencies needed for all students to adapt to the emerging knowledge-based societies of the 21st century, as suggested by UNESCO. Thus, the curriculum should be changed to include competencies that foster the learning of relevant knowledge for students as individuals and members of society, in their present and future contexts. It is important that students are not just learners at university but are also responsible citizens, effective workers, caring community members, and lifelong learners, in an increasingly interdependent world. In this context, the main goals of education are not only to reach excellence in literacy and numeracy, but also to educate students to develop themselves as human beings that live in the 21st century. The Capability Approach (CA) provides an ideal framework to assess the extent to which an individual develops his/her human capabilities and, therefore, reaches a standard of living and welfare. The CA was first articulated by Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen in the 1980s and later on by Martha Nussbaum in the 2000s.

Recently, the CA has extended its fields of application and attracted a wider number of scholars. It is being operationalized in research areas such as education, technology and design, philosophy and economy. In this research, the CA, as proposed in the work of Martha Nussbaum, is used as a framework to study the state of the life skills education in online learning. Therefore, the main goal of this study is to operationalize the CA for such educational environments. We have considered the traditional List of Central Human Capabilities that every human being should be able to develop to lead a meaningful life:
(i) Life,
(ii) Bodily Health,
(iii) Bodily Integrity,
(iv) Senses, Imagination and Thought,
(v) Emotions, (vi) Practical Reason,
(vii) Affiliation,
(viii) Other Species,
(ix) Play and
(x) Control over One's Environment (which involves political and material perspectives).

Online learning has increased considerably in recent years and there are no specific frameworks on these topics for new digital environments. We believe the definition of this List of Central Human Capabilities will allow online practitioners to evaluate the extent to which human capabilities are being developed in online learning scenarios. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt of the operationalization of the CA in online learning.

This sequence of transforming a theory into an object of practical value will allow us:
(i) to assess the degree of implementation of quality education in the 21st century as proposed by UNESCO in an online university (the Open University of Catalonia, Spain) and
(ii) to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of online universities in the application of the CA and propose alternative ways of improving the quality of education in online learning as suggested again by UNESCO.
author = {G{\'{o}}mez-Rey, P. and Barberà, E. and Fern{\'{a}}ndez-Navarro, F.},
series = {8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-2657-6},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {8200-8207}}
AU - P. Gómez-Rey AU - E. Barberà AU - F. Fernández-Navarro
SN - 978-84-608-2657-6/2340-1095
PY - 2015
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2015
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2015 Proceedings
SP - 8200
EP - 8207
ER -
P. Gómez-Rey, E. Barberà, F. Fernández-Navarro (2015) OPERATIONALIZATION OF THE CAPABILITY APPROACH FOR ONLINE LEARNING, ICERI2015 Proceedings, pp. 8200-8207.