Interactive Teaching In Competency-Based Approach At A University

Abstract

The article deals with the competency-based approach to the implementation of educational programs – an issue relevant to the modern system of Russian higher education. Focusing teaching on practical results requires a reconsideration of the forms and methods of training. At present, the student’s assimilation of a simple amount of theoretical knowledge seems insufficient to be implemented in the professional sphere, therefore, a significant proportion of creativity is added to the teaching of disciplines. The article summarizes the results of the study, the main tasks of which include analyzing the experience of implementing the competency-based approach in Russian higher education establishments, identifying factors affecting the formation of competencies provided by educational standards and required by employers, as well as developing forms of using active learning methods in teaching the “Marketing” discipline at a university. In accordance with the objectives, the article focuses on specific forms and training methods that form the general professional and professional competencies stipulated by the educational standard in the discipline of “Marketing”, such as developing the ability to analyze the relationship between the functional strategies of companies, analyze consumer behavior of economic goods and generate demand for the basis of knowledge of the economic foundations of the behavior of organizations, market structures and the competitive environment of the industry.

Keywords: Interactive teaching methodscompetenciescompetency-based approachcreativityteaching methodsformation of competencies

Introduction

To date, the transition of higher education institutions to the standards of a new generation has been completed, namely FSES 3+, which require more active use in the educational process of new approaches to learning, innovative forms of classes.

For the information society of the 21st century, the assimilation of a variety of knowledge by a student seems insufficient, therefore, a significant share of creativity is added to the teaching of disciplines, which allows one to build competencies related to the ability to generate new ideas and think creatively (Karpov, 2019).

The competency-based approach implemented in universities requires a focus on learning in results, namely the formation of the necessary general cultural, general professional and professional competencies. While implementing educational programs universities should focus on the training of specialists or bachelors, taking into account the needs of modern society and the economy. In this process, it is important not only to help an individual to integrate into socio-economic activity, but also to realize the need of society to use the creative, intellectual, physical potential of the individual.

Competence includes both substantive (knowledge) and processive (skills) components. Thus, the competency-based approach is focused on the development of professional and personal qualities of a university graduate, which will allow them to successfully realize themselves in labor activity in an ever-changing environment.

Researchers of the competency-based approach note that

employers are not interested in the qualifications associated with the division of production functions into a number of tasks and activities, but competency, which is a combination of the skills inherent to each individual, a combination of qualifications with initiative, the ability to make decisions and be responsible for their consequences, adequate social behavior, ability to work in a group (Kiseleva, 2017, p. 49).

Since discussions on the application of a competency-based approach are still being held in the scientific and pedagogical environment, which can be seen from forum discussions and publications in scientific journals, it can be argued that the question of how to implement it is not yet closed. It should be noted that the system of higher professional education is rather conservative, therefore, despite the declared competency-based approach, in many universities such forms of training as a classical lecture and a seminar still prevail. The scientific and pedagogical community periodically returns to the discussion of the problem of quality training, the formation of the necessary competencies, which is reflected in the curricula and in the work programs of the disciplines, in particular in the development of forms of interactive classes of both lecture and practical nature.

Problem Statement

Modern enterprises make increased demands on university graduates, because they are interested in developing intellectual capital, which “is formed as a result of the realization of the knowledge, skills and creative abilities of workers in the production activities that they acquire and accumulate in the process of training and labor activity” (Parfyonova & Pitertseva, 2012, p. 61).

If we talk about skills, abilities and personality traits, then employers consider the following to be important for attracting young specialists:

  • communication skills – 86%;

  • teamwork skills – 85 %;

  • integrity of an individual – 83%;

  • intellectual abilities – 81%;

  • self-confidence – 80 %;

  • personality and character – 79 %;

  • organizational skills, planning skills – 74 %;

  • literacy (good written language) – 71%;

  • ability to understand and work with numbers – 68%;

  • ability to analyze and make decisions – 67% (Dudina & Glotova, 2015).

An analysis of job postings from Russian websites confirms this data. Employers evaluate personnel according to the competency model formed for each work position. The main task of a competency-based approach in an organization is to teach a person to manage their own knowledge, skills and abilities, that is, to be able to learn and self-develop (Lustina, 2017).

Note that the term “competence” has been used quite actively recently: in educational activities, the emphasis is on the formation of certain competencies (Karpov, 2019; Kiseleva, 2017; Onditi Luoch, 2016; Yakhiaeva, 2015), and in professional activity, on assessment of practical use and development (Kostromina, 2017; Luneva, & Smirnova, 2016; Sujova, 2016). In vocational education, the result of mastering the educational program is formation of competencies.

The main problems in implementing the competency-based approach in teaching economic disciplines are related to:

  • the predominance of the theoretical component in the structure of the educational process, since the educational process is carried out mainly by theoretical teachers;

  • poor knowledge on innovative interactive teaching methods.

Research Questions

Subject to consideration are issues directly related to specific forms and methods of training that form general professional and professional competencies provided for by the curriculum for the discipline of “Marketing”, such as development of the ability to analyze the relationship between the functional strategies of companies, to analyze the behavior of consumers of economic goods and the formation of demand based on knowledge of economic foundations of the behavior of organizations, market structures and the competitive environment of the industry.

Based on the information received, within the framework of this study, suggestions can be developed for implementing the competency-based approach through interactive forms of training.

Purpose of the Study

To study and analyze the experience of implementing the competency-based approach in Russian higher education institutions.

To identify factors affecting formation of competencies provided by educational standards and required by employers. 

To develop forms of using methods of active learning in teaching the "Marketing" discipline at a university.

Research Methods

In the process of work on the study, an analysis of the content of the work programs of the discipline of “Marketing” (“Fundamentals of Marketing”) of higher educational institutions of Moscow, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod was carried out, attention was paid to the forms of teaching and teaching methods, in particular interactive, aimed at the formation of general cultural and professional competencies.

In order to identify the main competencies that are required for the employment of graduates, the scientific publications summarizing research in this field (Dudina & Glotova, 2015; Kostromina, 2017; Luneva & Smirnova, 2016; Lustina, 2017) were studied and a content analysis of vacancy announcements jobs on sites rabota.ru, hh.ru, superjob.ru was conducted.

Findings

The competency-based approach is focused on the development of professional and personal qualities of a university graduate, which will allow them to successfully realize them self in labor activity in an ever-changing environment.

As an example, let us consider the teaching of the discipline of “Marketing” to students in such undergraduate areas as “Economics” and “Management”. Since marketing is studied mainly in the second year of study, it should be emphasized that by the second year students receive knowledge on the disciplines of the humanities and natural sciences and practically do not focus on management issues, however, the formation of general cultural competencies greatly contributes to the study of this discipline.

The competencies that a student should possess as a result of mastering the discipline of “Marketing” relate to the development of the ability to analyze the relationship between the functional strategies of companies in order to prepare balanced management decisions; the ability to assess the impact of macroeconomic environment on the functioning of organizations and bodies of state and municipal government, to identify and analyze market and specific risks, as well as to analyze the behavior of consumers of economic goods and the formation of demand based on knowledge of the economic foundations of organizations, market structures and the competitive environment of the industry.

In addition to developing students' skills related to orientation in interdisciplinary relationships, analysis skills, problem explication and decision-making skills, it is important to pay attention to the creative component of the Marketing discipline in particular, and the entire learning process as a whole. Creativity and development of creative thinking are competencies that are important not only to specialists in marketing, advertising and PR, but also to accountants, economists, and managers, since a modern employer expects innovative thinking from young specialists.

Thus, the competencies formed in the process of studying the discipline will allow the graduate not only to understand the problems of organization and the specifics of decision-making based on the study of marketing processes better, but also to take a broader look at the economic and managerial processes of modern society.

Among pedagogical techniques aimed at demonstrating interdisciplinary connections and formation of skills to navigate a large amount of information, the following can be distinguished:

1. Problem-based lecture. Getting to the presentation of complex material, which is completely new to a student, it is necessary to bring the latter to the material, asking problematic questions or giving examples from the practical activities of various companies, to cover statistics.

2. Lecture as a discussion. Dialogue or polylogue during lectures – this form is not innovative, but it is not often used. Some of the teachers are afraid of losing the thread of reasoning, some are not satisfied with the “noise”, however, it is the “working” buzz of the audience that testifies to the students' interest, their thirst for knowledge and for expressing their own opinions. The main problem of higher education was the “silence” of students, because in the past lecture forms prevailed, exams and tests more often took the form of tests, which saved the “study load”, but did not contribute to increasing speech competencies and professional literacy of students. All this led to the fact that most students are not able to formulate their thoughts, they experience difficulties in such forms of control as the defense of term papers and final qualification works, oral exams and final certification.

Thus, the substantial component of competence requires that the lecture must be so interesting that students not only receive information on the discipline under study from the teacher, but also make independent efforts to find additional information on the issue that interests them.

If we talk about the competencies associated with the ability to analyze the situation and to highlight the main and secondary factors influencing it, as well as the possession of decision-making skills based on the analysis, then it is necessary to focus on the organization of seminars and workshops and the wider use of interactive methods learning.

Figure 01 shows the impact of various forms of training on the formation of competencies.

Figure 1: The influence of teaching methods on the formation of practical competencies
The influence of teaching methods on the formation of practical competencies
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The diagram indicates the need to revise the organization of the educational process in favor of interactive teaching methods, reducing the number of lecture hours and increasing the time for students to do project work under the guidance of a teacher. Let us consider some of the teaching methods that have shown the greatest efficiency in the formation of competencies.

Studies have shown that the following forms show the greatest effectiveness in terms of implementing the competency-based approach and increasing students' interest in the subject:

1. Case study methods (analysis of specific situations) are used quite widely and not only at the university. The use of cases at classes encourages students to learn and actively use methods, principles, technologies and other marketing tools when analyzing, evaluating and solving specific market problems and practical situations. Modern methodological literature and various Internet resources offer a large number of ready-made cases.

2. When studying individual topics, it is advisable to use modeling and design methods . For example, building a model of consumer behavior for various products. A survey of students of economic specialties showed that the "most memorable" are creative assignments. The following type of work in small groups is of interest to students: a topic is voiced, for example, “chocolate”, and it is proposed to develop a new product, to portray it, to give it a name, to develop positioning and an advertising slogan – a tagline. The result of the work is presented on the sheets of whatman paper, and each team present their versions in class. The audience discusses successful finds, analyzes the flaws and evaluates the whole project. Thus, this form of educational activity contributes to the formation of such competencies as the ability to work in a team, the ability to quickly make decisions, generate and visualize ideas, analyze options, present the results of group work.

3. Conducting mini-trainings in practical classes will allow not only to diversify the forms of training, but also to work out the skills necessary for the formation of competencies, to teach working in a group, since this method of training also involves working in small groups. For example, to invite students to develop products according to the 3-level model of F. Kotler, to position products for different market segments. At the end, a presentation of works with a mandatory assessment is provided, which is given by the students themselves after a comprehensive analysis of the projects.

4. Analysis of films (episodes), short stories, and other works of art will allow for non-standard demonstration of the operation of the basic laws, principles, and marketing technologies. For example, students are invited to watch a feature film, in particular, “Hitch”, and answer the following questions: describe the product (what is sold, its features, uniqueness of the offer); what are the components of the product’s quality; at what stage of the product’s life cycle is your argument reasoned; characterize product distribution channels; what are the methods of increasing the demand for a product; which brands are advertised in the movie? Questions for analysis must be given in advance. Watching a movie, everyone works independently, possibly at home. At class there is a joint discussion of the results, the development of a common opinion.

5. Brainstorming is a universal method that allows for not only intensifying the work of students, but also for demonstrating modern methods of analysis and management decision-making in practice. Brainstorming is used when developing marketing strategies in practical classes, when conducting a SWOT analysis, etc.

The study showed that in the process of studying at a university it is necessary to use not only intellectual tools to solve theoretical problems, but also to develop non-standard, creative thinking and creative abilities of a future specialist in the field of economics.

Conclusion

Studies in the field of pedagogy and methods of the educational process in higher education lead to the conclusion that

the use of active and interactive methods in the educational process of the university allows the teacher to solve many problems, solving of which is difficult to achieve in other ways: activating educational activities of students; ensuring creative nature of training; creating conditions for students to gain experience in innovation in the context of a future profession; development of both cognitive and professional motives for learning and related interests; formation of systemic thinking in a future specialist; creating a holistic view of the profession; formation of communication and social interaction skills, as well as collective decision-making, etc. (Rybakova, 2018, p. 43).

In this regard, when developing working programs for disciplines, it is necessary to focus on such forms of training as problem-based lecture, lecture as a discussion, practical exercises using innovative technologies, and when drawing up educational and thematic plans, on methods such as modeling processes and solving problematic tasks, situations (cases), heuristic dialogue.

Thus, implementation of the competency-based approach in terms of formation of competencies that are important for modern employers will mainly be promoted by interactive forms of training that provide for group work, stimulating development of creativity. In this direction, universities need to solve the following problems: conducting an audit of the curriculum with a view to reflecting competencies relevant to employers; forming motivation of higher school teachers to use innovative forms and teaching methods in the educational process effectively.

References

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

26.08.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.08.02.98

Online ISSN

2357-1330