Monday, December 5, 2016

Training Tech Professionals to Teach: Part 2, Education Skills for IT Professionals

In Part 1 I considered if we should have more IT professionals, trained to teach part time.  But what  standards and qualifications could be applied to such teaching?

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) requires members to be competent in at least one "specialism". Five of these relate to education and training:
  1. Learning and development assessment
  2. Learning and development management
  3. Learning delivery
  4. Learning design and development
  5. Teaching and subject formation
From ACS Certified Professional Pathway Chart (2013).

As I noted in my presentation to the Computing Education Conventicle 2016, there are twelve education and training related skills defined in the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA). SFIA is used by the ACS in Australia to define what IT people do and so this recognizes education as legitimate role for IT professionals. The skills range from level three (the beginner level) to level seven (the highest skill level). The skills are broadly described and would fit with roles in the workplace, vocational training and university sectors.

Having these skills defined allows a program to be accredited as suitable for an professional IT.

SFIA Category Skills and ACS Membership Level
Subcategory Skill Code Levels

* SFIA Version 6 definitions from ACS (2015)
Skill management Learning and development management ETMG --34567

Learning assessment and evaluation LEDA --3456-

Learning design and development TMCR ---456-

Learning delivery ETDL --3456-

Teaching and subject formation TEAC ----56-
People management Professional development PDSV ---456-

One of the six SFIA categories is "Skills and quality". This includes six skills definitions, with five from the "Skill management" subcategory and one from "People management".

ACS Certified Technologists (CT) are required to be competent in at least one "specialism" at SFIA level 3 and Certified Professionals (CP) at Level 5. Three of the learning related SFIA skills are defined at level 3 (delivery, assessment and evaluation, development management). All six are defined at level 5. This suggests that the lower level skills are: delivery, assessment, evaluation, and development management.

The inclusion of learning evaluation as a low level skill is curious. Normally it would be considered that appraisal of a program would be a higher level skill than of individual students.

The SFIA Skills Definitions (Assessment Portal, 2016) would not on the face of it appear to relate to what the typical computer student learns or does in the workplace. However, many of the basic skills, such as preparing documents, giving presentations and collecting feedback, are common to IT development and education. A small component of training specifically on learning skills should be sufficient for the typical computer degree graduate to meet the SFIA Level 3 requirements. However, preparing the documentation for this, without the use of a tool, could be onerous.

Education Related Skills Definitions in SFIA Version 6

Category Skills and quality
  1. Learning and development management (ETMG): The provision of learning and development processes (including learning management systems) to develop the professional, business and/or technical skills required by the organization.
  2. Learning assessment and evaluation (LEDA): The assessment of knowledge, skills and behavior by any means whether formal or informal against capability and qualification frameworks such as SFIA. The evaluation of learning or education programs against defined outcomes.
  3. Learning design and development (TMCR): The specification, design, creation, packaging and maintenance of materials and resources for use in learning and development in the workplace or in compulsory, further or higher education. Typically involves the assimilation of information from existing sources, selection and re-presentation in a form suitable to the intended purpose and audience. Includes instructional design, content development, configuration and testing of learning environments, and use of appropriate current technologies such as audio, video, simulation and assessment. May include third party accreditation.
  4. Learning delivery (ETDL): The transfer of business and/or technical skills and knowledge and the promotion of professional attitudes in order to facilitate learning and development. Uses a range of techniques, resources and media (which might include eLearning, on-line virtual environments, self-assessment, peer-assisted learning, simulation, and other current methods).
  5. Teaching and subject formation (TEAC): The specification, design, development, delivery and assessment of curricula for computing and for information technology (including electronic communication), at any level of the education system from primary through to tertiary (all age ranges) and in the workplace. The topics addressed are those of the fundamental and more advanced areas of computing and the common skills needed to make productive use of computers and IT systems for both computing and IT professionals and competent users of IT based systems including the ideas of computational thinking and the application of computational concepts to everyday and professional life. Special attention is paid to the methods, techniques and pedagogy (the study of being a teacher, tutor or lecturer, and the process of teaching) of computing & IT education.
  6. Professional development (PDSV): The facilitation of the professional development of individuals, including initiation, monitoring, review and validation of learning and development plans in line with organizational or business requirements. The counselling of participants in all relevant aspects of their continual professional development. The identification of appropriate learning/development resources. Liaison with internal and external training providers.
 From: SFIA Skills Definitions from: Assessment Portal (2016). Retrieved from:

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