As this blog enters into its second year and my writing starts to get through some of the preliminary arguments about pedagogy, I will be focusing more on the work I do in the technical standards field.

Much of this work may not be of interest to the general reader – but may be so to the more technical reader. I am therefore creating this page to act as a publishing platform for this material.

Conceptual framework for representing competency information

“Competency” is a key concept in HR but it has been little used in education. Instead of saying “Johnny scored 8 / 10 in his test on Wednesday”, competency information seeks to represent the idea that “Johnny is good at x, y or z.”. This sort of information is critical for the development of learning analytics systems and intelligent learning management systems, especially when it can be shared between different software systems. It may also help improve progression from formal education to the world of work.

There have been several attempts made to create data models to allow this sort of information to be exchanged between different systems. None of them (to my mind at least) seem to be entirely satisfactory.

This document seeks to provide a conceptual framework against which different standards can be mapped. We hope that this will allow an informed conversation to occur in which the pros and cons of different approaches can be discussed and, even more important, demonstrated.

I have developed this document in consultation with Simon Grant of JISC/CETIS, who has been working on a project funded by the European Commission for Integrating Learning Outcomes And Competences (InLOC). I wish to thank Simon for his valuable contributions to the document.

Conceptual framework 1-0 (PDF, 13 pages).
Proposed Competency Definitions (PDF, 3 pages).

Version 2 (June 2013)

An updated version of the same paper, including definitions.

Conceptual framework 1-1 (PDF, 16 pages).

2 thoughts on “Documents

    • Hello Fuatow,

      I think that’s a good question and I am not sure of my answer. It is really a question about terminology. What do we mean by “pedagogy”? Anything we like, so long as we are clear.

      I make the distinction between motivation/inspiration/personality and systematic pedagogy in “Five principles of pedagogy” at and I also make the point that teachers tend to think in terms of motivation rather than system in “Why teachers don’t know best” at

      Maybe we need different terms to make the distinction between the two sides of the equation – something like “soft” and “hard” pedagogy, or “personal” and “systematic”. The interesting part, I suspect, lies in the interaction between the two – but it is a subject to which I hope to return soon, when I can offer a more definitive answer.


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