How can lifelong learning skills be assessed at University?

Villamide Díaz, María Jesús; Garcia Alonso, Javier; Carro Travieso, María Dolores y Gonzalez Cano, Javier (2015). How can lifelong learning skills be assessed at University?. En: "9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference", 02/03/2015-04/03/2015, Madrid, España. p. 7.


Título: How can lifelong learning skills be assessed at University?
  • Villamide Díaz, María Jesús
  • Garcia Alonso, Javier
  • Carro Travieso, María Dolores
  • Gonzalez Cano, Javier
Tipo de Documento: Ponencia en Congreso o Jornada (Artículo)
Título del Evento: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Fechas del Evento: 02/03/2015-04/03/2015
Lugar del Evento: Madrid, España
Título del Libro: INTED2015 Proceedings
Fecha: 2015
Escuela: E.T.S.I. Agrónomos (UPM) [antigua denominación]
Departamento: Producción Agraria
Licencias Creative Commons: Reconocimiento - Sin obra derivada - No comercial

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At the University specific competences and skills have been traditionally evaluated, whereas generic skills (such as writing and speaking competences) were used to refine the rating. Promote or encourage and subsequently assess generic skills is a challenge driven by the Bologna plan. The aim of this study was to analyse the efficiency of a methodology designed to encourage self -learning and lifelong learning skills. A compulsory course of Livestock Production and Environment belonging to the Agro- Environmental Engineering Degree with 36 students enrolled was taken for this study. After a presentation and some discussion with the students about the lifelong learning skills in the classroom, some documents specially elaborated for this course on "How to understand and explain tables and figures of scientific data", "Virtual farm management", "Making field works" were made available at the Moodle platform. Different learning activities, both in the classroom and on-line, were carried out based on this material. Afterwards, generic competences and skills were assessed through three questions in the partial exams, and the efficiency and success rates (% of students passing of those registered or presented) and average scores were analysed. In addition, the effect of students’ motivation level (3 categories calculated from the % of learning activities performed in the course; 94, 81 or 60%, on average for each category) on the assessment of the activities and questions related to lifelong learning skills was also analysed. The average efficiency and success rates of understanding and explaining scientific data were 52 and 56%, respectively, these values being lower than those obtained for specific skills of the course (80.5 and 93.5%, respectively). However, in the evaluation of the self-learning ability (v irtual farm management) and the ability to think about their own learning process, the efficiency and success rates (82 and 87%, respectively) was comparable to those of the specific competences. The group with low motivation level impaired (P<0.01) the scores obtained in 3 of 4 activities related to understanding and explaining scientific data, showing scores about 50 to 67% of those of the group with high motivation level. Finally, students completed a survey on their perceptions on how well this course improved their lifelong learning skills. Survey responses indicated that they seemed to be aware of the importance of lifelong learning (84%). Most of them (87%) considered themselves able of preparing a complex topic on livestock production and 71% knew where to find the required information. Their opinion about generic competencies linked to livestock production was very positive, as they believed that the course had increased their ability to observe critically livestock facilities (97%), to visualize the effects of animal production on the environment (94%), and to quantify agro-livestock resources and emissions (90%). However, when the competences were not linked to the course topics the evaluation was lower (61 to 80%).

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