Developing the Competence Framework

The aim is to achieve widespread acceptance and application of tekom’s Competence Framework for Technical Communication. Achieving this involves providing proof of a justifiable, comprehensible methodical procedure for developing tekom’s Competence Framework. All the experts involved in this process are aware that links to other existing concepts and tools at both national and international level are extremely important. These were therefore taken into account when developing tekom’s Competence Framework. The most important methodological decisions and the concepts that underlie the Competence Framework are explained below.

Requirements placed on the Competence Framework and objectives during development

Before the Competence Framework was developed, requirements, and hence the objectives that had to be met during development, were defined.

1. Consistency with current European concepts and tools:

The procedure adopted when developing the Competence Framework was patterned on the methodology used for comparable European Commission projects such as the eCompetence Framework (e-CF) and the European Skills and Competencies of Occupations (ESCO). The conceptual framework was set out in accordance with European legislation, especially the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).

2. Justifiable, comprehensible methodical procedure:

The competencies, fields of knowledge and requisite proficiencies that were fed into the Competence Framework were determined based on empirical data gathering principles. As well as empirical data, expert knowledge was also included. Teaching contents were defined systematically and patterned on the established, widely used Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives in the cognitive area. Qualification levels were defined based on criteria for knowledge, practical ability and competence such as those specified in the EQF for various qualification levels.

3. Practice-based and action-oriented competence requirements:

The Competence Framework was developed adopting a strictly practice-based and action-oriented approach (based on the cognitive competence definition).

4. Future sustainability of the Competence Framework:

When specifying necessary technical communication competencies, all the basic and current requirements placed on knowledge, practical ability and skills were included. In addition, areas of competence were defined which involve task requirements and activities that, although they are not currently implemented on a large scale in companies and, up until now, have been regarded as areas of specialization, are likely to become standard requirements in a few years. Information about trending topics in the field of technical communication were determined using empirical methods.

5. Potential to become a European-wide standard:

The potential to become a European-wide standard crucially hinges on meeting the above-stated requirements. Widespread acceptance and application of the Competence Framework is a prerequisite for this. In order to maximize the practicality and usability of the Competence Framework, all users can access it free of charge over the Internet. The Competence Framework will be multilingual, it will initially be available in German, English and Chinese. Users will be able to use the Competence Framework interactively, thus allowing them to use the Competence Framework in line with their own individual requirements. The Competence Framework is being implemented in an interactive profiling tool that can be used to create skills profiles selectively.

Project to extend the Competence Framework

The Competence Framework currently relates to tasks and activities in order to develop information products and maps competencies, knowledge and practical abilities that are necessary for the main information development process.

As the next step, there are plans to define Competence Frameworks for other processes concentrating on the main information development process, especially for managing the technical communication area and for important support processes such as terminology management.