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Conceptions of Professional Competence

  • Martin MulderEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)

Abstract

Professional and practice-based learning is a process which manifests itself in many different forms. It differs by personal characteristics of the learners, levels of their professions, fields of practice, intentionality of their learning, and formalisation of the learning activities. Notions of competence have entered this diverse practice in many ways. The question is whether conceptions of professional competence have helped the practice of professional and practice-based learning. In this chapter it is argued that this is indeed the case. Although various attempts to implement competence-based professional learning programmes were heavily criticized, later developments in competence theory and research gave new insights which emphasized the integrative meaning of competence within professional practice. It helped in mapping professional fields from a domain-specific as well as a generic behavioural perspective. This chapter goes into the roots of the competence movement, and evaluates the contributions of these to the field of professional and practice-based learning. This is further illustrated with examples of different professions in which competence models have been and still are an effective means to map requirements for professional practice and to guide the evaluation and development of professional and practice-based learning programmes. What worked and did not work is then explained by distinguishing three approaches of conceptualizing competence which have been used in different contexts, and which have wide implications for professional and practice-based learning. The chapter concludes with the claim that current competence conceptions help mapping, focusing and assessing professional and practice-based learning.

Keywords

Competence Competency Competencies Competent Competence theory Competence research Competence profile Job profile Competence model Competency framework Professional competence Competence development Professional development Motivation Intelligence Performance Performance improvement Education Management Human resource development Medical profession Purchasing profession Behavior Training Management education Management training Management development Behavioral functionalism Integrated occupationalism Situated professionalism Extension Open innovation Entrepreneurship Environmental education Consultancy Purchasing Competence motivation Performance motivation 

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Education and Competence StudiesWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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