Dr. Milan Frankl, B.Sc., M.Sc., MBA, Ph.D.
Professor of Business, University Canada West
Sessional, HINF, UVic.
UVic Learning and Teaching Centre (LTC) August 2016
PROGRAM COMPETENCIES VS. LEARNING OUTCOMES
1. Author Background
2. High-level competency framework
3. General degree program competencies
4. Program competencies
1. Core competencies (learner-focused)
2. Contextual competencies (IT example)
3. Functional Competencies (IT example)
4. Integrative competencies
5. Depth and breadth of knowledge
1. Knowledge of methodologies and research
2. Application of knowledge
3. Communication skills
4. Awareness of limits of knowledge
5. Professional capacity and autonomy in IT management
6. Learning methods and program delivery
1. Leaning methods
D. Milan Frankl, B.Sc., M.Sc., MBA, Ph.D.. has more than 35 years teaching
experience with the University of Montreal, University of Sherbrooke, University of
Victoria, Royal Rods University and University Canada West. He also taught online
course at various U.S. based universities.
Dr. Frankl developed and delivered more than three dozen courses on topics
including computer science, mathematics, statistics, and business related
Before joining the academia, Dr. Frankl acted as a partner in a major Canadian
consulting fir, and president and CEO of several high-tech companies.
Dr. Frankl published extensively on various topics including logic, mathematics,
statistics, health management, computer science, and business management.
His books are available on Amazon and Business Expert Press (New York).
LEARNING OUTCOMES VS. PROGRAM
COMPETENCY STURCTURESTraditionally, university programs and courses are developed according to program
and course learning outcomes.
In this presentation we propose a Program Competency Structure for undergraduate
and graduate program development.
Similar to Learning Outcomes, Program Competencies Structures (PCS) are
developed through course content, exercises, case studies, research projects,
HIGH-LEVEL COMPETENCY FRAMEWORK
According to the University of Toronto’s website, “Good learning outcomes are
focused on what the learner will know or be able to do by the end of a defined
period of time and indicate how that knowledge or skill will be demonstrated.”
On the other hand, “A core competence is the result of a specific set of skills or
production techniques that deliver value to the business and its customers.”
(Prahalad and Hamel 1990)
GENERAL DEGREE PROGRAM COMPETENCIES
For easier understanding of the Competency Structure (CS) when developing a
university degree program we have chosen a topic that may illustrate better the
The program’s competency structure (PCS) in this presentation builds on the
foundational IT knowledge and practical experience of students aspiring to fill
executive IT positions in business.
For example, in a graduate program for information technology management the PCS
develops advanced IT management and leadership skills and knowledge with
course focus on areas, such as IT service management and leadership, IT
management across multiple boundaries, IT innovation management, and IT
driven business leadership.
We name this program IT-PCS
General degree program competency stages include:
Learner-focused Competency Elements or Core Competencies,
Contextual Competency Elements,
Functional Competency Elements, and
Integrative Competency Elements.
These broad competency stages represent the building blocks of progressive student
skills and capabilities that consider the required contextual, functional, and
integrative competency elements of the desired business skills achievement.
Core competencies (learner-focused)
Learner-focused core competencies (CCs) are to be acquired by the student in every course and are not necessarily course specific. Achieving these competencies is measured in a manner consistent with the progressive capability of student development in broad stages of:
Practical Critical Thinking
Applied Integrative Thinking
Responsibility and Accountability
Academic and Practice-based Research Methods
Learner-focused competencies are present throughout the program and covered within each course.
They include practical critical thinking expressed verbally and in writing, integrative synthesis capability, responsibility assessment, understanding accountability, and proficiency in practical research methods.
Contextual competencies (IT example)
Contextual competency elements cover the directing and management of IT services
within both the business context and the rapidly developing IT context.
They include grounding in the multiple roles and responsibilities of the IT professional
and current perspectives on IT professional development.
Functional Competencies (IT example)
Functional competencies constitute the functional elements typical of many large IT
organizations and departments, and reflect the diversity and specializations
within the IT area.
Integrative Competencies (IT example)
Integrative competencies reflect the coordinating and integrating aspects of IT
direction and management.
They include various configurations of contextual and functional aspects of IT in the
application of strategically aligned actions.
In summary, program competencies are are developed through lectures, exercises
(including assignments), and readings, and may be evaluated through projects,
essays quizzes, and exams in the course.
Every competency identified in the course chart must have one or more associated
assignments or assignment components.
Furthermore, these competencies are measured by final grading in content courses
with competency achievement identified by a target course grade.
DEPTH AND BREADTH OF KNOWLEDGE
The IT-PCS program coursework needs to provide a thorough understanding of
technology management foundations and its leadership.
Knowledge of methodologies and research
In the IT-PCS program students will acquire the ability to analyze research critically,
and to conduct and lead applied research.
Upon completing their research cycle of courses, students will have a solid
grounding in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and ethical
In addition, all coursework will require students to demonstrate that they have the
capacity to develop and sustain an argument that includes an assessment of
current research in information technology management.
Graduates of this program will be prepared to pursue further applied research
studies or inquiries, particularly as it might apply to their workplace.
DEPTH AND BREADTH OF KNOWLEDGE
Application of Knowledge
The nature of the course assignments within the program requires the student to
demonstrate his or her ability to use theory to inform practice.
Many of the assignments need to have direct applicability to the student's
In addition, the research process will require the student to engage actively in a
project designed to improve his or her instructional program or some aspect of his
or her work environment.
DEPTH AND BREADTH OF KNOWLEDGE
All students in the IT-PCS program will be required to demonstrate both written and
oral communication skills through seminar discussions, individual written
assignments, individual presentations, group written assignments, and group
Therefore, the IT-PCS program focuses on developing the student’s ability to
communicate ideas, issues, and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and
DEPTH AND BREADTH OF KNOWLEDGE
Awareness of limits of knowledge
Courses in the proposed IT-PCS program will be designed to make students aware
of their limits of knowledge by reflecting a variety of approaches to knowing
Courses will provide a foundation for recognizing the complexity of knowledge, its
various interpretations, methods, and disciplines.
DEPTH AND BREADTH OF KNOWLEDGE
Professional capacity and autonomy in IT management
The IT-PCS program is professionally oriented and intends to provide students with extensive information technology experience foundations necessary to further enhance their professional skills and be successful in their future IT leadership roles.
Throughout the program, students will have demonstrated their ability to apply their coursework and enhance their professional capacities within their own work environments.
Through research projects students will demonstrate their knowledge, ability, autonomy, and decision-making skills to evaluate and improve the quality of information technology management in business.
They will demonstrate an understanding of the complexity of knowledge as well as an in-depth understanding of the multiple interpretations, methods, and disciplines relating to information management.
LEARNING METHODS AND PROGRAM DELIVERY
A variety of teaching and learning methods will be used in the delivery of the IT-PCS
program. The main pedagogical approach will be based upon the principles of
constructivism and adult learning.
Learning methods may include
Active, student-centered learning
Program Competencies result in specific skills students can apply in the workplace.
Those skills are directly related to the jobs they intend to pursue.
The objective of most university program curricula is to prepare students for
Most students do not intend to pursue an academic research career; however, this
needs to remain an option for those choosing to pursue this type of career.
Numerous exchanges with industry representatives confirm their preference for the
Competency Structure approach to university program and course development
for students intending to enter the workforce.
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