Adult educators are confronted with heterogeneous groups of adult learners, engagement of adult learners in the process of education or increase of motivation require from adult educators not only didactic knowledge and skills but also excellent skills and competences being able to respond various educational needs of learners and increase their engagement in education.
The Diagnostic tool offers adult educators identify their existing knowledge, skills and competences in the field of didactics, and encourage them to assess and further improve their own performance.
How to use the Diagnostic Tool:
The Diagnostic Tool for each competence contains a definition of a competence and a number of I can-statements.
The I can-statements describe key tasks an adult educator/trainer should be able to perform within a specific competence area. They cover elements of knowledge, skills and competence, for example: Managing group dynamics means that a trainer shall possess a knowledge of group definition and its dynamics, ability to analyse the behaviours of learners within the group, ability to identify possible problems and be able to apply different strategies to manage group dynamics.
The number of statements varies from competence to competence (therefore, the minimum and maximum total amount of points one can obtain will be different for each competence). Since each statement represents a typical task that an adult educator should be able to perform, all statements are accredited with the same value.
For each statement corresponding to the specific ability of the competence, there is an evaluation scale of skill levels from novice to expert adapted from “Novice to Expert: the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition” (Novice to Expert: the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition. (n.d.). [online] Available at: http://devmts.org.uk/dreyfus.pdf ) The definition of each level includes elements of knowledge, standard of work, autonomy, copying with complexity and perception of context.
The skill levels on the evaluation scale correspond to the following points:
Novice – 1 point
The individual has a common knowledge or understanding of basic concepts of adult education, without connecting it to the practice, the level of experience gained e.g. in a classroom and/or experimental scenarios, internship, assistant on-the-job, is rather low. He / she needs close supervision or assistance when applying teaching skills. He / she has little idea or no idea how to deal with complex teaching / learning situations. He / she perceives some teaching / learning situations without context.
Beginner – 2 points
The individual has knowledge of key concepts of adult education practice. At this stage, he / she can perform teaching tasks straightforward to an acceptable standard. He / she can judge their own single activities, however some assistance or supervision is needed to assess and fulfil the overall process of teaching. He / she can deal with complex situations only to some extent, achieving only partial resolutions.
Competent – 3 points
The individual can successfully complete most of the tasks as requested. He / she possesses good working and background knowledge in the field of adult education. Aid from an expert may be required from time to time, but trainers can usually perform tasks independently. Focus is on applying and enhancing knowledge or skills; Individual has applied this competency in situations occasionally while needing minimal guidance to perform successfully. Trainer understands and can cope with complex situations in practice.
Proficient – 4 points
The individual can perform the actions associated with adult trainers’ competences without assistance. He / she possesses a deep understanding of adult education and its implications in practice. Individual has consistently provided practical/relevant ideas and perspectives on process or practice improvements which may easily be implemented. One is capable of coaching others in the application of this competence by translating complex nuances relating to this competence into easy-to-understand terms. He / she can deal with complex situations holistically, and is confident in decision-making.
Expert – 5 points
The individual is known as an expert in this area. He / she can provide guidance, troubleshoot, and answer questions related to this area of expertise and in the field where the skill is used. Focus is strategic. One has demonstrated consistent excellence in applying this competence across multiple projects and/or organizations. Individual is considered as the “go to” person in this area. He/ she can deal with various complex situations; he / she can perceive the overall picture of teaching / learning processes and apply alternative approaches when necessary.
You will read the list of abilities (statements) under each competence and rate each one individually according to the evaluation scale. The score is counted for each competence separately; apart from it, you will receive feedback based on score as well as recommendations and suggestions for further improvement or development of the competence.
The Diagnostic Tool focuses primarily on the skills and competences that might directly affect learners’ motivation and engagement (the authors are aware that the overall scope of the skills and competences an adult educator should ideally possess is much broader):
Below you can click on the specific competence of the diagnostic tool:
- Effective communication and interaction
- Self-reflection and – management
- Design of learning activities
- Delivery of learning activities
- Diversity Management
- Digital competence (literacy)
Competence in facilitating ICT-based learning environments and supporting adult learners in using these learning environments. This competence is integrated into other competences, therefore, no specific tool is developed to assess this competence. Instead, we suggest referring to DigCompEdu Assessment Tool.