Competencies That Enable Learners To Engage In Blended Transformative Learning

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There are a range of competencies which are needed for participants in transformative learning in a blended learning environment, within a context of socio-ecological transition. It is therefore important for trainers and catalysts to identify these transformative learning competencies and blended learning competencies in learners or enable those learners to access and develop them in order to be able optimise the benefits arising from their blended transformative learning experiences. In general, the better developed are these competencies amongst the learners, the more they will get out of the learning process facilitated by trainers, and hopefully therefore the more substantial will be the work towards transition - so it's import for trainers, and ideally for learners, to be aware of these learner competencies.

Competencies for Individuals, Groups and Communities

Community-level and societal transition can only arise from the collective action of a diversity of individuals. As community-scale and societal transition is the goal, the basis for identifying the competencies needed by individuals, groups and communities in this field is that the general goal is for communities as a whole to develop the ecology of collective competencies that they need to bring about transition. This therefore requires a wide and diverse range of generic and specific competencies to be developed within individuals, teams and localised networks to bring about transition at community scale. It is the diversity of complementary competencies across a community of individuals that enable transition to take place. Therefore, transition is not a matter of seeking to develop a fixed set of uniform competencies across a large number of individuals or teams. However, there will be a set of generic transition competencies that need to be developed to Introductory or Intermediate levels at least.

According to an individual’s strengths, experience and inclinations there will then also be a range of specific transition competencies that need to be developed across individuals working as a team or in a community. For example, alongside the generic transition competencies each individual aims to develop a smaller number of specific transition competencies (e.g. that suit their motivations and build on their existing competencies) to at least an Intermediate or Advanced level. Particularly amongst a group of individuals that are initiating or activating local transition activity, or seeking to generate a system change or organisational transformation, whether they are 3 or 30 in number, ideally these specific competencies should all be covered within that group as a whole to at least an Intermediate or Advanced level to progress and activate transition processes.

For this framework for transition competencies to be realistic it is important to identify a full range of competencies that will form the ecology of competencies that are needed across a community that is engaged in a process of socio-ecological transition. In this way, the whole community, including any individual trainers, community catalysts and training collectives they are working with, can determine how to put in place, strengthen and enrich these individual and collective competencies across the community.

The prerequisites for participants in learning and action are those set out in Appendix 1. Within these, an obvious prerequisite is a desire or commitment to participate in and actively contribute to socio-ecological transition at both the individual and collective level.

The Dreyfus levels suggested for each competence area are indicated as follows:

N (1) = Novice     AB (2) = Advanced Beginner C (3) = Competent P (4) = Proficient E (5) = Expert

For all the specific competencies listed it is expected that:

For Trainers and Catalysts - as individuals and teams, all will be between a minimum of Competent Level and Expert Level for each competency area For Individuals and Communities - all individuals will be between a minimum of Novice Level and generally be aiming to move toward a Competent Level or higher for a particular range of competences they are well suited to or strongly motivated to develop;

For Teams, Collectives, Communities and Movements - across the group the intention will be that at least one member moves toward at least a Competent Level for each competency in Appendix 1 for larger groups, or for as many is realistic for smaller groups, so that the broad range of competences are well represented, and ideally that each individual moves toward a proficient or expert level for at least one competency over time.

Transformative Learning Competencies for Learners

The INTRAPERSONAL (BEING) DOMAIN

in which individuals, collectives and communities are developing their inner world and their individual and collective way of being. In terms of transformative learning competence, this includes:

Current & Target Level of Competence
Having clarity of purpose, values & vision & commitment and motivation to learning

Indicators of competence:

  • Has a sense of deeper purpose and being aligned and acting from it
  • Is critically aware of own hopes, fears and expectations; and their impact on motivation
  • Is able to craft their insights into visions of desired futures
  • Has commitment to self-knowledge, personal learning and growth (moral, ego, values, emotional, interpersonal characteristics etc.) as both a means and an end in itself.
  • Understands how to work between comfort and discomfort / growth edges to benefit continual learning  
  • Is willing to take part in learning experiences that are non-linear and manifest from the group experience
  • Invests time and effort in ongoing action-learning cycles to incorporate reflection on experience, learning and applying learning to own context
Having self-awareness, emotional literacy & an ability to self-regulate

Indicators of competence:

  • Is aware of the inner terrain of thoughts, feelings and body sensations and how that impacts on one’s sense of self, one’s behaviour - including in groups
  • Understands how feelings can support or undermine our intentions and actions
  • Is able to stay present and sensitive to subtle shifts in one’s internal environment, and to subtle shifts in the group environment and communicate this in service of group progress          
  • Is aware of the body (sense experience) as a bridge to intuition, insight and wisdom  
  • Is able to work with difficult and challenging emotions, acknowledging the triggers and the ‘purpose/value’ of these emotions, and how they shift depending on the social context
  • Is able to find support in working with emotions to benefit learning and growth
  • Has the intention and ability to experience and deepen kindness/love, empathy, compassion and connection to yourself, other humans and the non-human world
  • Recognises how one is affected by and implicated in dominant social and economic systems that lead to inequality based on protected characteristics of gender, race, class, religion, ability and age (patriarchy, white and western supremacy, ableism, classism)

The COGNITIVE (KNOWING) DOMAIN

consists of what individuals, collectives and communities need to know to enable, generate and support transformative learning, this includes:

Current & Target Level of Competence
Critically analysing mechanisms through which meaning/knowledge is made, valued & promoted (individually & collectively)

Indicators of competence:

  • Is able to make meaning out of experience; and the ability to synthesise experience, models or frameworks, and update perspectives
  • Is able to see social, historical and cultural constructs as constructs which can change, adapt and collapse
  • Recognises the subjective, partial and provisional nature of all views
  • Is able to critically reflect - particularly on assumptions and where they come from, in order to be able to change them if necessary  
  • Understands the significance of how ‘intelligence’ and ‘knowledge’ has been defined and valued through history and its effect on today
  • Is able to value and recognise a range of sources of knowledge and multiple types of intelligence
Having the ability to navigate complexity & think in terms of systems

Indicators of competence:

  • Is able to acknowledge of constant, complex change making our journey unpredictable
  • Is able to see and hold ‘problems’ as systems; seeing cause and effect, feedback loops, interconnections without assuming complete understanding
  • Is open to new information and experience and willing to update perspective even if contrary to previously held beliefs
  • Recognises interconnections of individual, social and ecological contexts, where each is both a whole in itself and a part of a larger whole
Knowing how to manage high levels of change & conflict effectively

Indicators of competence:

  • Is able to think and act beyond polarities, without reducing/evading creative tensions, or finding it difficult to participate in processes that engage and potentially different and potentially contradictory views
  • Is able to think about change from a range of timeframes i.e.  short term, medium term and long-term

The INTERPERSONAL (RELATING) DOMAIN

comprises the generalized ability to express and engage with ideas, and interpret and respond to messages from others. In terms of transformative learning competence, this includes:

Current & Target Level of Competence
Contributing to group spaces in ways that promote learning and regeneration

Indicators of competence:

  • Trusts group spaces as a places for growth, development, change  
  • Is able  to care for balance between individual needs and the collective needs of the group in working towards the goal/purpose·
  • Create cultures of care, compassion and empathy for self and others from a sense of shared/mutual solidarity and unified purpose towards socio-ecological transition  
Having effective communication skills and practice

Indicators of competence:

  • Makes clear one’s own assumptions, perspective and experience that leads to worldview and willingness to understand this for others
  • Has active listening skills for supporting a deeper understanding of others
  • Is able to adapt language to be inclusive of a range of audiences
Having understanding of and creative engagement with power dynamics

Indicators of competence:

  • Recognises the impact of our own and others rank on group dynamics  (the power we have relative to one another in relationships, groups, communities and the world/the sum of our privileges)
  • Understands how social constructs of identity (gender, race, class etc) relates to inequality and injustice at a systemic level and how this permeates learning and action spaces

The ACTION (DOING) DOMAIN

comprises the ability to apply and develop skills, identify and implement appropriate actions, individually and collectively. In terms of transformative learning competence, this includes:

Current & Target Level of Competence
Aligning behaviour with values and vision

Indicators of competence:

  • Notices, understands and is willing to address the ‘value–action gap’ where behaviour differs from values held e.g. addressing gaps where learning happens conceptually, but is not put into practice
  • Is able to implement decisions and/or actions that support vision
  • Is able to initiate, facilitate and ‘manage’ in flexible and responsive ways one’s own transformative learning experiences, programmes  and journeys, for both the individual and for groups

Blended Learning Competencies for Learners

INTRAPERSONAL (BEING) COMPETENCIES

in which individuals, collectives and communities are developing their inner world and way of being in ways that support their experience of blended learning and the benefits that can arise for them from that.

Current & Target Level of Competence
Having self-awareness

Indicators of competence:

  • Is able to self-motivate and take responsibility for own learning - particularly for self-directed aspects of blended learning programme
  • Understands own learning style and how to manipulate blended environment to suit style

COGNITIVE (KNOWING) COMPETENCIES 

consists of what individuals, collectives and communities need to know to engage with blended learning environments and processes.

Current & Target Level of Competence
Understanding blended learning as an approach to capacity building

Indicators of competence:

  • Understands what blended learning is, how it differs from traditional f2f, advantages and disadvantages
  • Understands terminology specific to technologies being used
  • Understands the concept and practices of "ecologies of learning" that span digital and physical realms (e.g. the diversity of interrelated elements, relationships and processes involved in learning)

INTERPERSONAL (RELATING) COMPETENCIES

comprises the generalized ability to express ideas and interpret and respond to messages from others in order to engage effectively and meaningfully in order to engage with blended learning environments and processes.

Current & Target Level of Competence
Developing communication skills

Indicators of competence:

  • Is able to select and moderate their communication style to suit the technological or face-to-face context  e.g. zoom, slack, email, in-person workshop
  • Is willing to follow or help set good practices in use of digital communication methods e.g. online meetings, Slack, email, etc
  • Is able and willing to communicate in ways that facilitate the learning-action process i.e. share our own and listen to others thoughts, feelings, ideas and concerns
Building community

Indicators of competence:

  • Has openness to building relationships and relate with others through remote and online channels, and not just through face to face
  • Is willing to contribute to and communicate around building an inclusive learning community in both online and face to face environments
  • Is able to acknowledge one’s own cultural and social background, identity and experience and openness to experiences different to one’s own
  • Is aware of and reflective about making assumptions based on one’s own position around other views, needs or experience

ACTION (DOING) COMPETENCIES

comprise the ability to apply and develop skills, identify and implement appropriate actions, individually and collectively in order to engage with blended learning environments and processes.

Current & Target Level of Competence
Having practical Tech literacy

Indicators of competence:

  • Is able to problem solve independently or by following instruction to trouble-shooting (basic maintenance, repair e.g. installing updates)
  • Is able to navigate multiple digital tools and resources
  • Is aware of spamming and knows how to handle that
  • Is aware of privacy and data protection and understands sensitive data handling procedures (how to keep your data safe online), using cookies etc.
  • Is able to manage online identity and digital reputation
Being able to self-manage

Indicators of competence:

  • Is able to manage time and tasks in both digital and physical realms
  • Is able to manage other technological distractions while learning through technology-driven media  
  • Is able to adapt to and switch between a range of learning environments
Having research skills

Indicators of competence:

  • Is able to undertake independent or guided research, including finding and evaluating reliable and trustworthy online sources, and recognising poor sources
Example sources of knowledge, practices, tools and training centres which can support the development of these competencies: