Title Development of a scalable internet-based solution for the evaluation, the assessment and the recognition of knowledge and competences that have been acquired through non-formal and informal learning
Project Number DE/07/LLP-LdV/TOI/147050
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Marketing Text The competence recognition process based on the CEMES-Method consists of a three step method mix for a comprehensive evaluation of the candidates’ competencies. The aim is to create a candidate’s actual profile. Both the first steps which consist of an online Multiple-Choice-Test and online answering of open questions serve as the starting point of the third step the personal assessment by two assessors. Online based important information has been collected due to the mix of methods which allows the assessor to use when evaluating the candidates’ competence level in a simultaneous shortened examination process. According to requirements the steps can be in combination or individually. This results in a modern efficient outcome orientated evaluation process of competencies which is very flexible and available for use all over Europe.
We professionalize competencies
In the era of life-long learning, the assessment of professional competencies has become increasingly important not only for individuals but also for organizations. The ESO-CRS software has been created on the basis of practical experience and is strictly outcome-oriented. It combines the certification of formal, non-formal and informal learning outcomes, thus professionalizing existing competencies and connecting them to career paths. This special innovation links competence-relevant elements through an action-oriented and outcome-oriented system consisting of various competence areas, competencies, tasks, technical terms and questions. Since there are numerous possible combinations, the system allows for the creation and implementation of individually tailored competence evaluations. For these evaluations, experts have to generate questions and outcome-oriented content. The action and outcome oriented system will then create a sense of a ‘team of experts in the process of learning’ through the application.
The target groups of this project are employees of SMEs , training institutions and any organization that is interested in evaluating competencies.
The main outcome is an internet platform for a European-wide competence evaluation. This platform contains comprehensive information, an administration tool, a pool of competence descriptions, an internet based examination tool with questions and answers, and a tool for the evaluation, the statistics and the quality assurance.
The CEMES certification solution and the developed tools for competence recognition offers many and a wide range of possible applications. An example is the recognition of gained competencies independent from how they were gained or the examining of the technical aptitudes by recruiting. Later other possible usage, cases advantages and other specialities will be represented.
Certification and recognition of competences
The recognition and certification of competencies is currently very important in the area of lifelong learning. Knowledge and competencies are increasingly gained not only in formal educational situations but also through informal and non-formal learning. These competencies gained from non-formal and informal learning do not usually have any certificates and whereby these competencies are restricted in availability for the vocational career and vocational mobility. The recognition of these gained competencies in a vocational context is an important contribution of increasing the individual’s vocational mobility and using the human potential in the company.
The „European Management Certificate“ should be an example of recognition of competencies independent from the way they were gained and described. In the pilot project ESO-CSA (European Setting of the Organization for Certification Specialist Areas) a European system for certifying SME’s competencies has been created. In doing so a system has been developed which allows the identification, evaluation and recognition of technical competencies in small and medium-sized companies which have been particularly gained through non-formal or informal learning. This new European standardised certificate represents a contribution for a European comparable evaluation of vocational competencies. The new system uses a European standardised process to confirm competencies according to a standardised framework of terms. For the developed management and technical certificates in the CEMES pilot project, evaluations based on ECVET (European Credit for Vocational Educational Training) were carried out to grant comparability with vocational educational certificates.
All CEMES certificates require compulsory vocational practice which means they can not only be gained through formal learning. These practical working times are calculated by a code into an equivalent learning time. This results in a total learning time. This corresponds to, for example for the EMC Master certificate a 4 year study period. This means that this certificate has a very high level. With the competence certification of qualified employees, executives and managers in SME’s competencies in special activities and areas are confirmed.
The competence recognition and certification happens in the following steps:
1. Enquiry from a manger from a SME of the possibility of competence recognition at a regional certification partner. The candidate uses the possibility of the self appraisal in the internet.
2. The EMC candidate can potentially gain the necessary competencies through free educational offers.
3. The first part of the examination consists of a computer based test at a CEMES examination centre. The candidate has to submit a portfolio which contains the educational certificates and the proven necessary practical work experience.
4. The concluding assessment takes place at a national CEMES examination centre by two independent accredited assessors. Preparation and examination time amount to approximately 3 hours. The CB-test and the portfolio of vocational development will also be considered.
5. The results will be given to the national CEMES Head Office by the CEMES professional assessor who evaluates and confirms the results.
6. The recommendation of listing the certificate is forwarded to the European CEMES Head Office who issues the certificate.
7. If desired the certificate owner can be listed on the CEMES homepage.
The competence requirements of all certificates are based on a system of 26 defined technical, methodical and social competencies. Defined competence profiles describe the required procentual level which needs to be proven for each certificate. These levels are different for each certificate.
Competence profiling – Strength/Weakness analysis
The international awarded CEMES process is used for the strength and weakness analysis. It is based on a three step internet based competence evaluation system for management competencies in small and medium-sized enterprises. The basis for the evaluation are the CEMES competence descriptions and the defined levels which define to what level the precise competencies have to be mastered. At the same time the real activity fields and activity requirements ascertain which competencies should be evaluated. The actual competence requirements and the levels are developed allowing for the actual vocational requirements profile which has been measured according to the strengths and weaknesses. For the purpose of benchmarking it is also possible to compare with an average value a comparable group. It is also possible to compare past tests of candidates.
The main advantage of strength-weakness analysis is the consequent Outcome-Orientation of competence evaluation. This means that all ways that knowledge was gathered are used in the evaluation. This means the formal learning methods, non-formal learning and informal learning merge in the evaluation. The establishment of necessary Human Resource development measures are based on actual competence levels. Therefore the use in potential analysis in companies makes sense especially by the identification of individual vocational development strategies or also as an anonymous self appraisal in the preparation of an interview or vocational decision. At the same time the use or also the aim decides which of the three steps has to be used. In the most cases the first step with the use of Multiple Choice questions is sufficient. This means a neutral and very efficient instrument for strength and weakness analysis exists.
Educational requirement analysis
The educational requirement analysis is an important part in businesses. This is a clear
problem especially in SME’s to recognise and test the exact needs for education. It doesn’t often happen that the decision includes the necessary educational measures of educational requirements of managers or the appropriate employee. This feeling of educational requirements doesn’t always have to be suitable or correspond to the actual educational requirements which a business requires to be able to react successfully on the open market.
The reason lies in the previous often used systematic in educational requirement analysis. Mostly interviews, questionnaires or manager, executives and employees interviews supported by points according to the requirement. This means that without doubt it is possible to win important information through the educational requirement in a company.
This should be compared to the actual existing competencies measured with the actual necessary professional requirements.
The described process and in particular the developed instruments in competence evaluation systems mentioned in step1 offer themselves for this purpose. By answering activity based professional questions the competence level will be evaluated and an actual level will be measured. This actual level is comparable with the described competence profile mentioned in point 5.2. For determining the actual profile the educational advisor and the company management should collaborate.
An example of educational requirement analysis in the area of drivers in a freight forwarding company should be made clear by using the developed tools. Due to the laws of introducing a basic qualification and further education of a driver in freight or transporting people an enormous pressure for education has developed in 2009. As transport companies are under cost pressure due to actual developments then an especially efficient use of resources concerning qualification is necessary. The further education, for example of all drivers according to a standardised content programme doesn’t correspond to this aim. Not every driver has the same competencies and knowledge gaps. If it is necessary for further education then one has to be undertaken which will be actual and necessary and will help the company.
You should start with the surveying of the actual knowledge gaps with step 1 of the CEMES competence recognition process. This means that the filled educational gaps or the educational requirements are not crucial for structuring the necessary courses. An additional advantage is that the identification of individual various necessary educational requirements. This means that the qualification can be individually designed for each driver and not one prescribed for every person.
Supporting Human Resource development
The developed competence evaluation system is suitable for a high level of support of internal personnel development in a company. The requirements which the controlling of business tasks and activities require, the existing professional employees’ competencies but also the social and individual competencies all influence the Human Resource development courses. All these factors of influence have been taken into account in the CEMES process in the various steps.
Phase 1 serves as the identification of professional knowledge in particular knowledge of facts and industrial knowledge.
Phase 2 identifies the combining knowledge and multidisciplinary knowledge regarding the solving of business tasks.
Phase 3 with the personal assessment concludes the evaluation after phase 1 and 2 and provides information about the social competencies and individual competencies.
This depth of information which is not subjective due to the used process measured with the actual requirements of the necessary Human Resource development courses. In particularly the objective way of competence evaluation can lead to areas of conflict with social partners and to mutual formation of opinions related to the necessary courses in companies. In this context the special strengths of the CEMES system come into effect which exists in the measuring of competencies from the independent ways of learning. This means that all formal, non-formal and informal learning methods are incorporated in the evaluation. So in particularly the Learning by Doing gained competencies through work processes are incorporated into the evaluation and receive a vocational identity. This makes it possible for a transparent judgement of the targeted situation and the deduction of individual and exact courses.
Development of junior executives and executives
The development of suitable junior executives and executives is growing in importance. The way to executive level is not easy and requires individual and exact development courses. The European Management Certificate in connection with the CEMES competence recognition process can be used together for the process of executive development. The European Management Certificate EMC describes the competencies which a successful manager should possess. This certificate delivers the aim of the OUTCOME of the executive development processes. Therefore it serves as a measuring rod for the strength and weakness analysis at the start of the process as well as the proof after the development process of the existing competencies.
Recruiting selection process
The recruiting of open vacancies with the correct person is a special problem especially in small and medium-sized enterprises. An experienced Human Resource person is not also responsible for finding the best person from a large number of applicants. Especially in firms where members of the executive level or Managing Directors have to carry out this task due to a weak Human Resource structure which means that due to time pressures and the lack of professional competencies the employment of a wrong person can occur. In SME’s this can quickly lead to problems as mostly a position only exists once and only filled when it is really necessary. If then an employee is recruited who does not have the necessary professional methodical competencies available then it can lead to damageable problems in the production or business process. The decisions are made mostly intuitive or based on proved competence documentation. Examples of these are certificates, documents or job references which seldom prove the existing competencies of the candidate at that existing time.
Especially in these cases but also by competence checks for a large amount of applicants it is highly recommendable to use the CEMES competence recognition. The developed three step process is suitable for establishing the actual professional and methodical competencies of the candidate in a time-saving manner. The future developed Multiple Choice questions for business areas as a first step gives a quick ranking of candidates. Taking the evaluation corridor as a basis then the answering of open questions can be attached to the second step for the most promising candidate. Open questions are suitable for testing combined knowledge and the managing of complex problem definitions. Only the best applicants in this step need to take the assessment or an educational conversation for their social competencies and behavioural patterns in step 3 will be evaluated. So it is a very efficient selection process for a large number of applicants. Especially for SME’s the professional evaluation of professional competencies can be prepared by this process by an external service provider. The future organisation of the CEMES system will include this service and the preparation of suitable MC and open questions and the evaluation of the results.
Recognition, transparency, certification
Sectors Other Service Activities
transparency and certification
procedure for the analysis and prognosis of the vocational training requirement
The online based MC-Test (First step) is used as the test of the technical knowledge as well as the knowledge and use of important technical terms. The test is carried out online by an authorised examination centre. After the registration of the candidate the examinations will be installed and the examination centre will receive the examination access codes from the CEMES-Head Office. The candidate will carry out the online test in an allocated room. The examination centre is responsible for the proper execution of the test. The test candidate logs on to the examination platform through the internet. He will be instructed how to answer the questions and the possible selection of the answers. The evaluation follows the test immediately. The test candidate receives an evaluation shown in percentage of the competence description and the percentage of correct answers.
The assessor who controls the third step of the competence recognition process receives information of the asked questions and the candidates’ answers by logging on to the assessor access in the system. This enables a targeted preparation of the assessment and the current tendencies of the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses.
The second step consists of the candidate answering complex questions. This step provides knowledge of how things connect together and the overall competence knowledge of the candidate. According to this open questions will be asked which connect more technical topics or individual competences. The test candidate has to explain in his/her own words and cannot use prepared answer examples. This step can be carried out immediately at the end of step1. The test is carried out online in an examination centre. The questions are asked online and the necessary answers are collected and saved online. For candidates who do not have sufficient computer and keyboard skills it is planned for them to scan the written answers as a PDF document and enter them onto the online software.
The evaluation is carried out by a technical expert or a potential assessor. The candidate has answer Tips or answer forms with evaluation explanations available to him/her. This makes it possible to have transparent and comparable evaluation results which can be reproduced.
The assessor who controls the third step of the competence recognition process receives information of the asked questions and the candidates’ answers by logging on to the assessor access in the system. This enables an even more targeted preparation of the assessment and the current tendencies of the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses have been made even clearer.
In the framework of competence recognition the assessment (Step 3) has various aims independent of if it is to be used at the start of a profiling as a pure strength weakness
analysis or if it has been used after a qualification phase and/or coaching phase. If the CEMES-Method is used for needs of education analysis then a development process has been closed. The results also serve as an individual direction of your personal development plan.
The final version of the assessment is dependent on the aims and the use of the competence evaluation system. If the system is used for supporting Human Resource recruiting (Point 5.6), the assessment will be an interview (Point 5.6). If the CEMES competence recognition system is used for certifying and recognizing competencies then it will be a Human Resource assessment corresponding to the European standard. As it is concerned with the highest qualitative requirements then the detailed described case of the principal organisation in step 3 should be used.
The European Management Certificate was developed in the European pilot project CEMES. This dealt with a certificate which confirmed the owner’s high-quality existing management competencies. The certificate and the use of the CEMES competence recognition process for this situation will be described in detail in point 5.1.
This CEMES assessment which leads to the EMC is not public. It has the aim to document and test the complete and complexity of the candidates’ proved competencies. The candidate, assessor and a second assessor (Lead assessor or professional assessor) take part in the assessment. The assessment takes place under the control of certification place of the named external accredited professional assessors. Each professional area will last a maximum of 4.5 hours (0.5 hours introduction; 2.25 hours. preparation; 1.25 hours examination; 0.5 hours evaluation). The assessor informs the candidate at the end of the assessment of the result.
The content of the assessment is defined in the minimum competencies in the competence description. Steps 1 and 2 are necessary requirements for the assessment. The candidate is only allowed to take the assessment if he/she can prove at least 50% of the minimum requirements (level) for each competence (not for the strength weakness analysis). The results of the CB-Tests of step 1 and the evaluation of the open questions in step 2 will be taken into consideration by the assessor. The examination has been passed if the candidate has been able to prove his/her competencies according to therequired levels of competencies for the corresponding certificate. The basis of the assessment is an example case study of a business or situation description which has to be handed over to the candidate 4 weeks before the assessment. By using this case study the professional, methods and self competencies will be evaluated. The structure shows the possible various professional areas where assessments can be carried out.
The level that the candidate has achieved in the competence for the specified professional area is defined as the result of the assessment. An examination is concerned as passed and an EMC certificate or professional certificate can be issued when in the special defined management areas when the defined minimum levels according to the CEMES framework have been achieved.