Danube University Krems (AUSTRIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN16 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Page: 5289 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.2252
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
In this paper the author operationally defines validation procedures by higher education institutions (HEI) for assessing tacit knowledge at the individual level in the continuing education industry. Tacit knowledge as a concept was introduced by Polanyi (1966) who described it as knowledge that cannot be articulated, and despite its current popularity tacit knowledge remains difficult to conceptualise and measure. Much of the literature treats tacit knowledge as an individual level phenomenon where the concept of tacit knowledge is closely related to skill learning (Polanyi, 1966) and to expertise where ‘tacit knowledge distinguishes more successful individuals from less practically successful’ (Sternberg et al., 2000, p.105). Furthermore, the learners themselves are often unaware of the significance, the depth or the variety of their informal learning (Smith & Clayton, 2011, p. 448). Applicants for Entrepreneurship programs usually have gained several years of job experience before they start thinking about their business model or concept and search for continuing education entrepreneurship programs. For this target group continuing education universities have created validation procedures to ensure that the tacit knowledge acquired by an individual is assessed against certain predefined criteria. The author analysed two HEI (one from Germany, one from UK) as case studies and found that they both pursue a stepwise process as a result with a strong focus on the individual when designing the validation process. After a general information phase the prospective students chose a field of study and a personal tutor counsels them to remember and outline their experiences in order to identify necessary academic skills, which are codified and moulded in curricula forming part of their desired degree. After this orientation phase follows a process of measuring competencies and an individual curriculum is designed to the needs of the applicant. It consists of visiting teaching modules to fill in the gaps and of designing work-based projects to demonstrate the tacit knowledge of the applicant. These projects draw heavily on past or current experiences of the student and their academic discussion of these experiences with the use of contemporary scientific literature. Finally the reflection phase starts and the student writes a reflective report by describing the work-based related situation and the actions by the student to master a certain challenge or to solve a problem. An essential part of the essay is the reflection of the learning’s by the student’s experiences in the light of scientific literature. Using sequential language applicants try to outline their tacit knowledge by discussing their interventions under academic premises. In the end the essay is validated and certificated like any other explicitly expressed knowledge. This validation procedure demonstrates a twofold strategy: on the one hand it has a standardised process on the other hand it leaves enough room to consider individual development. A key issue for the validation process is the training and integration of a personal tutor who can address the needs of potential entrepreneurship students. This research work concludes that the tutor has a key role as he/she can facilitate knowledge codification of applicants to a usable form for the validation procedure and can give important hints during the validation process.
Entrepreneurial learning, validation procedures, competencies, higher education institutions, lifelong learning, continuing education.