SkillsAct4Vet – Training

Module 2 - During the mobility

Unit 3: How was the SkillsAct Tasks Map designed?

The SkillsAct Tasks Map Questionnaires were designed for 15 different professional sectors and job roles.

In each questionnaire, we matched 5 tasks usually performed by students in a given job to a set of 3 behavioral descriptors for each of the 5 soft skills identified in the SkillsAct Identification Tool.

How did we identify the tasks?

The identification of the job sectors and tasks is a result of an extensive analisys of KA1 Erasmus Plus projects managed by the training agencies of Education and Training Network, of which Tribeka training lab is part.

A big number of handbooks filled by interns and host company tutors were analyzed to identify:

  • The most common sectors in which ETN agencies were required to organize short-term work experiences in the period from 2017 to 2019
  • The tasks most commonly entrusted to students during the internships

The sector analysis led to identifying 15 typical job roles.

During the research conducted for the SkillsAct Identification Tool we asked students and host company tutors to order, per each sector, the tasks most often performed by the interns.

This allowed to identify 5 most often performed tasks per each of the 15 sectors.

This gave us a solid base to build the TasksMaps around the tasks that are actually performed by students during their work experience abroad.

How did we identify the behavioral descriptors?

Per each soft skill identified and described in the SkillsAct Identification Tool we focused on 3 behavioral elements that more than others are pertinent to the SkillsAct Tasks Map.

As we described in Module 1, each soft skill is associated with multiple Behavioral Indicators. It means that each soft skill is defined by a set of correlated behaviors, where the soft skill is an abstraction and the behavioral indicators are concrete manifestations of that abstraction.

The reasoning behind our selection is based on the practical usage of the tool, that is students’ awareness.

The three main consideration points are the following:

-Relevancy of Indicator to Soft Skill Definition:

We want the selected indicators to be as relevant as possible to the soft skill definition, as they are the tool we use to indicate the soft skill activation level of each student.

– Clarity for Students:

The selected behavioral indicators are later shared with students, and therefore they must be presented in an accessible, understandable way. 

– Generality of Indicators:

To make the results useful and universal, we selected the most general Behavioral Indicators. In the selection process we also considered the general characteristics of the person who shows the selected behavioral descriptors (therefore an “aspect” of that competence) to maintain consistency between the indicators chosen within each competence (i.e. three indicators that, in addition to being concrete and observable, also compose a useful narrative for returning feedback).

The final questionnaires

As a result, the questionnaires that constitute the Tasks Map is a set of 45 questions expressed according to the following formulas:

– When I’m in charge of…  for the tasks that are usually performed individually

– When I’m involved in… for the tasks that are usually performed with others

Within each job role, we tried to keep the same number of the two kinds of sentences.

That is, 3 sentences per individual tasks and 2 sentences per collective tasks, when possible.

This served to obtain comparable results across different professional roles/settings. 

However, the scheme could not be applied to all the sectors. 

The students tend to work in groups during short-term trainings abroad, so we could not add questions with the formula ‘when I’m in charge of..’ in some cases.

For instance, the tasks carried out in the construction or logistics sector usually are not performed individually.

This is not only related to the job (an experienced builder may work alone), but to the specific nature of the short-term internship (it is uncommon that an intern in the same field works alone).

On the contrary, students of hairdressing, beauty sector or gastronomy often perform some tasks alone (under their tutor’s  supervision).

The questionnaire is delivered on-line, it is personal and each student immediately receives the results in the form of a graphic by e-mail.

The same questionnaire is delivered to the student’s tutor in the host company.

Questionnaire results will show if the student activates each transversal skill while carrying out tasks related to the internship.

The results are in a way a depiction of the student’s “strengths and weaknesses”. The following picture shows an example of the graphic the student can receive after filling the Tasks Map questionnaire.

The comparison between the student’s and tutor’s answers allows to check if the student’s performance and its perception are aligned or not.

Methodology

The questionnaire is designed according to the Likert scale.

The respondents have to indicate if they agree or not with a given statement, for example:

The possible answers are:

Strongly agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

The scale includes 4 levels of agreement, to minimize the tendency to choose the answer “in the middle”.

With only 4 options to choose from, the results are more defined and polarized, and the respondents are prompted to answer the questions with more consideration. 

The transversal skills are not named explicitly in the questionnaire. They are revealed through the presence or absence of the behavioral indicators.

It should be stressed that the analyzed skills activation is strongly linked to the internship activities (not to the whole mobility experience).

The received task is the activator of each behavioural indicator.

Exercise: Test the Tasks Map, visiting the online questionnaire corresponding to the professional sector you teach.