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Development and validation of a life skills evaluation tool for online learning based on the framework of the capability approach

Abstract

The promotion of life skills in learners is especially challenging in distance and online environments where the learners’ physical absence from the classroom hinders the evaluation of these types of skills. Due to the great challenges brought about by this physical absence, there is a lack of empirical studies attempting to examine life skills in web-based scenarios. This study therefore aimed to fill the existing gap in operationalizing the role of life skills for online learning through the capability approach (CA). This exploration was conducted under the umbrella of Nussbaum’s version of the CA. Specifically, our study contributes by devising an integrative and comprehensive teaching and learning framework for open educational practices based on the CA, and by introducing a new instrument that has been adapted to this context. Methodologically, the design and validation of the instrument involved a four-stage process. First, Nussbaum’s list of central human capabilities was operationalized for online learning. Then, in the second stage, a qualitative content validity check was performed to verify whether the instrument was appropriate and comprehensive in terms of what it was intended to measure. The aim of the third and fourth stages was to quantitatively assess the reliability and validity of the questionnaire. For the third stage, the instrument was pre-tested through a modified version of the Q-sort method. In the fourth stage, non-parametric tests were used to validate the internal consistency and content validity of the questionnaire. Thirty experts from the areas of online education, philosophy, and statistics took part in these stages.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    SDG4—Education 2030: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/education-2030-incheon-framework-for-action-implementation-of-sdg4-2016-en_2.pdf.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the experts who gave their time to participate in this study.

Funding

The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. This research is funded by Beijing municipal educational science foundation (No. AHDB19030).

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Correspondence to Pilar Gómez-Rey or Jingjing Zhang.

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Gómez-Rey, P., Barbera, E., Fernández-Navarro, F. et al. Development and validation of a life skills evaluation tool for online learning based on the framework of the capability approach. Education Tech Research Dev (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-021-10054-z

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Keywords

  • Capabilities approach
  • Higher education
  • Life skills
  • Online education