Learner Capability Framework: A Validation Study
This project from Otago Polytechnic aimed to create a method for learners to gain evidence of their transferable, employment-ready capabilities alongside their academic qualifications.
This project considered the following question: How can New Zealand teaching institutions equip learners to be more employment-ready for the fast-changing world of future work?
The project created a system to enable learners in any discipline and at all levels to show evidence of their transferable capabilities, in addition to their academic transcript.
The team worked in close connection with the world of employment, via Business NZ's industry network survey and through interviews, focus groups, and teaching and workplace observations.
This project focused on Action Research, including Ethnographic Research.
Teams of lecturers conducted semi-structured interviews with employers, students, staff and recent alumni from a wide range of disciplinary and employment settings, to gauge priorities regarding the existing Learner Capabilities Framework. The interviews were recorded and transcribed, and the data coded and analysed.
Findings were tested with focus groups and adapted for implementation in an online tool to assist students to build their own capability profile on an ongoing basis, even after completing their studies.
Project LeaderOtago Polytechnic
Professor Leoni Schmidt
Academic LeadOtago Polytechnic
Michael GreavesOtago Polytechnic
Amber PatersonOtago Polytechnic
Rhina ChanOtago Polytechnic
Dr Liz DitzelOtago Polytechnic
- There was a consensus about the top-ranked capabilities for graduates across the three stakeholder groups surveyed. The most significant capabilities are:
- Communicates Effectively Verbally,
- Displays Effective Interpersonal Behaviour,
- Works in Teams,
- Solves Problems,
- Works Independently,
- Communicates Effectively in Writing,
- Organises Effectively,
- Demonstrates Resilience.
- The importance of having effective verbal and written communication, teamwork and interpersonal behaviour skills when entering the workplace.
- The importance of being able to provide prospective employers with evidence of these capabilities, by using the iamcapable tool which proved to be an effective and convenient way to track and share verified evidence of capability development.
- There was no evidence that the capabilities differed substantially from a Kaupapa Māori perspective.
- The Otago Polytechnic Learner capability Framework is ‘fit for purpose,’ providing confidence to continue to implement Learner Capabilities into curricula.
Strategies to enhance learner capabilities:
- Student feedback provided a range of suggestions about enhancing capabilities, such as using more real-life scenarios, providing more internships and work experience, many of which are already used in courses and curriculum design.
- Alumni ideas for empowering students in the learning environment and providing more opportunities for personal growth outside the classroom included spending more time doing collaborative work or projects in the community and having smaller groups.
- Māori interview themes included different interpretations of capabilities relating to cultural competency, safety, and diversity in a Kaupapa Māori context. Translating the capabilities into Te Reo enhanced the understanding of capability in the Kaupapa Māori context.
- Research team recommendations focused on practical aspects such as greater preparation of staff for change by including them in the process via more workshops, seminars, and demonstrations to engage interest.
Full project documentation from an Otago Polytechnic project to create a method for learners to gain evidence of their transferable, employment-ready capabilities alongside their academic qualifications.
- 7 December 2021