Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Fifth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Nurturing students’awareness of their behavioral competencies: The Competency Lab experience
Fabrizio Gerli, Sara Bonesso, Laura Cortellazzo

Last modified: 25-06-2019


Behavioral competencies, also defined emotional and social competencies (ESCs), are considered to be increasingly important for graduates’ workplace readiness. Drawing on studies that adopt the “whole person” learning approach and the Intentional Change Theory (ICT), this paper illustrates a teaching approach that higher educational institutions should implement, across different curricula and disciplinary fields, in order to improve students’ awareness of their behavioral compentecies and to direct their development coherently with the future professional and personal objectives. In doing this, we give an illustration of the lessons learned from an educational initiative, Competency Lab, designed by a research center of a public university in Italy, that was devoted to master’s students. From the analysis of the students’ learning outcomes, the paper shows the positive impact of : i) proposing the ICT approach, through which students assume personal responsibility for the development of ESCs; ii) integrating multiple learning methods and tools with a specific application of experiential methods to stimulate self-reflection and active experimentation; and iii) encouraging students’ engagement through web-based technologies. We provide implications for educators illustrating how students can self-define the ESCs to develop, following a rigorous method that is tailored to their specific level of maturity and personal motivation.

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