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Developing Competency Frameworks for Higher Education

This report examines competency frameworks and their development in the context of higher education.

It begins with an overview of the academic and grey literatures focused on existing competency frameworks, including a description of what a competency framework is, as well as a discussion of what the latest academic research has to say about competency frameworks at a general level.

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This overview is also supplemented by a systematic mapping of existing competency frameworks in the context of post-secondary education that involves identifying the key components of 20 frameworks drawn from the academic and grey literatures as well as from the policies and practices of post-secondary education institutions. Synthesizing on the basis of this overview, the authors outline what a competency framework that anticipates disruption by artificial intelligence, automation and robotics would need to look like. A critical aspect of this analysis is the consideration of how to fortify a competency framework against the realities of a world characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA). The authors also highlight the importance of being able to assess the competencies included in a framework for it to be useful, and provide a discussion of existing assessment tools. Finally, the authors highlight some of the key implications of their analysis and provide some suggestions for next steps that they suggest others wishing to develop or refine competency frameworks take into consideration. 

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The Future Skills Centre is a forward-thinking centre for research and collaboration dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success and meeting the emerging talent needs of employers. As a pan-Canadian community, we bring together experts and organizations across sectors to rigorously identify, assess, and share innovative approaches to develop the skills and work environments to drive prosperity and inclusion.