COMPETENCE DEVELOPMENT ENHANCED BY LEARNING PATHS DESIGN AND E-PORTFOLIO IMPLEMENTATION WITHIN ILIAS
Lifelong learning refers to the activities people perform throughout their life to improve their competence in a particular field. That`s why nowadays competence-driven approaches are facing fundamental challenge. Competence based learning is focused on outcomes that are linked to workforce needs, as defined in the sectorial competence profiles. In this paper a competence is defined as the effective performance of an actor in a well defined domain. A great deal of information has to be generated and managed in the definition of such competences, and their relationship to job profiles, to competence development programs, and to individual and organizational attainment. Engineering education necessitates more complex process of competence development and assessment, involving technology-based assessment, e-portfolios, experiential learning assessment in field experience, demonstration in varying contexts, role play, use of standardized patients or clients, etc. Competence development currently requires variety of user activities and technology-enhanced systems with different representations, interfaces and applications and which detract from the user’s primary objectives. Within this context the management and development of competences involves activities at a number of different levels: defining a target competence profile; mapping to a competence development profile; identification of competence development opportunities; organizing personal development programs and designing flexible learning paths. A learning path describes a set of one or more learning actions, including the way they are related, leading to attainment of a set of one or more competence levels which constitute the path’s finish. The proposed conceptual model of the learning path specifies the steps that have to be taken to reach the competence level: the learning actions that lead to attainment of the competence levels one aims for. Additionally, e-portfolio can support personal advisement, career preparation, and credential documentation, the sharing of learning philosophies and practices, department and programme self-studies, and learner, institutional and program accreditation processes. The e-portfolio helps learner to reflect on learning achievements, to present him/her study results, competencies and achievements to others. Newly released ILIAS 4.2 has been chosen as the best solution for implementation at the TU-Sofia. ILIAS is compliant with the SCORM and organized in a modular format. It enables customizing for different learning needs and purposes. ILIAS provides learners with means to perform flexible learning paths and reflect on their learning, experiences, objectives and failures. The goal of this paper is to propose approach for competence development and assessment enhanced by flexible learning paths and e-portfolio implementation within ILIAS 4.2. The paper is structured as follows: first, we present competence based learning concept and learning path design. Then we present the e-portfolio concept and implementation within ILIAS 4.2. Finally, we briefly discuss the implications of this choice for technology-enhanced infrastructure deployment to support competence development and assessment at TU Sofia. The paper presents our scientific research project “Technological and organizational infrastructure ILIAS e-portfolio”, 2011-2012, funded by the Technical University – Sofia R&D Sector.