Facing New Challenges for Competencies Acquisition in Higher Education

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2024) | Viewed by 9087

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Special Didactics, Universidade of Vigo, 36312 Pontevedra, Spain
Interests: socio-emotional competences; active methodologies; higher education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Along with teaching specific subject knowledge, higher education should emphasize developing 21st century skills so that students can adapt to the changing needs of the job market. Effective communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, cooperation and adaptation to change have been highlighted as skills of high significance to prepare students for today's complex and changing demands.

This approach should be backed up by innovative scientific and professional scholarship that supports transformative educational practice to foster students’ professional growth and their contributions to society. These practices should be inclusive, active, environmentally and socially sustainable, and driven by a human-centered perspective on technology.

Thus, new challenges related to training in higher education and especially the acquisition of these new competences are increasingly emerging. This issue therefore proposes some contributions related to these issues: changes in higher education, service-learning, augmented and virtual reality, socio-emotional skills, interdisciplinary competences, teamwork, creativity and motivation, among others.

Dr. Myriam Alvariñas-Villaverde
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • teacher education
  • soft skills
  • innovation

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 679 KiB  
Article
Transformation of Higher Education: Discussion of the Dimensions, Trends and Scenarios of Change in Ibero-America
by Manuel Fernández Cruz, Borja Fernández García Valdecasas, Lucas Muñoz López and Slava López Rodríguez
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(5), 523; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14050523 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 469
Abstract
World conferences on higher education have reported the effect of social changes on university systems. Particularly, changes that induce a transformation in the academic profession. Here, we study the paradigm shift of the profession in its dimensions, trends, and future scenarios. We conduct [...] Read more.
World conferences on higher education have reported the effect of social changes on university systems. Particularly, changes that induce a transformation in the academic profession. Here, we study the paradigm shift of the profession in its dimensions, trends, and future scenarios. We conduct this study in two phases: first, we applied an inventory on the perception of university teaching to a sample of 2312 professors in the region; after that, we conducted a focus group for each of the ten dimensions in which we noticed indicators of change. With the quantitative data, we performed an ANOVA to identify three clusters of professionalization with dimensions open to change and related to each other: (1) Planning, Teaching Development, and Communicative Capacity; (2) Communication, Evaluation, and Self-evaluation; (3) Professional Self-evaluation, Teaching Innovation and Improvement and Individual Learning Support. With the focus groups we have identified the need to incorporate pedagogical models of inclusive education and teaching based on technological advances as the main drivers of change. We concluded with the proposal of four possible scenarios of future professionalism: (1) entrenched professionalism; (2) semi-professionalism; (3) fragmented professionalism; or (4) balanced professionalism. Full article
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11 pages, 478 KiB  
Article
Can We Measure the Level of Socio-Emotional Competencies of Adolescents?
by Iago Portela-Pino, Jose Domínguez-Alonso and Myriam Alvariñas-Villaverde
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 395; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14040395 - 10 Apr 2024
Viewed by 576
Abstract
The present study aimed to evaluate the evidence of validity and reliability of the Social Emotional Competence Questionnaire (SECQ) in Spanish students and to verify if gender is a determining factor in their development. An intentional sampling was carried out on 429 students [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to evaluate the evidence of validity and reliability of the Social Emotional Competence Questionnaire (SECQ) in Spanish students and to verify if gender is a determining factor in their development. An intentional sampling was carried out on 429 students between 12 and 16 years old. Three factorial structures were tested: the original model, the original re-specified model, and the six-factor model that was achieved. The results maintain that the original re-specified model presented values with the best absolute fit, a slightly more favorable comparative fit, and a parsimonious fit with lower values than the other models. The reliability analysis showed considerable internal consistency. Boys were shown to have better self-management, and girls showed greater management in their social relationships. It is concluded that the questionnaire has adequate psychometric properties and is expressly useful in the population of interest with a relevant weight in the evaluation of socio-emotional competence. Full article
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17 pages, 294 KiB  
Article
Are Creativity, L2 Motivation and Soft Skills Related? A Study in VET Students
by Inmaculada Calero López, Margarita González-Peiteado and Beatriz Rodríguez-López
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(3), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14030214 - 21 Feb 2024
Viewed by 692
Abstract
Vocational Education and Training (VET) studies aim to improve students’ skills to carve their niche in the labour market. Speaking different languages, showing teamwork skills and creativity are among the skills most in demand by employers. Thus, understanding students’ motivation and their perception [...] Read more.
Vocational Education and Training (VET) studies aim to improve students’ skills to carve their niche in the labour market. Speaking different languages, showing teamwork skills and creativity are among the skills most in demand by employers. Thus, understanding students’ motivation and their perception of their teamwork skills and creativity level may help to identify their weaknesses and strengths and to develop educational programs adapted to the current demands. This research was conducted with 596 students of higher-level and intermediate Vocational Education who answered an online questionnaire in class. The answers were analysed to seek the link between the students’ motivation, their manifested teamwork skills, and their perceived level of creativity. The results confirmed the positive correlation between the three of them. However, and despite the positive results, further empirical research is needed, especially to understand how motivation, soft skills and creativity develop and what kind of initiatives have an impact on these variables. Full article
15 pages, 2171 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Teacher Motivation, Psychometric Properties of the Work Tasks Motivation Scale for Teachers (WTMST) in Spanish Teachers
by Julia Criado-Del Rey, Iago Portela-Pino, José Domínguez-Alonso and Margarita Pino-Juste
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(3), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14030212 - 20 Feb 2024
Viewed by 959
Abstract
The lack of motivation among teachers is of increasing concern. Consequently, identifying motivations for their teaching performance can help to improve the quality and effectiveness of educational systems. The aim of this article was to translate the Work Tasks Motivation Scale for Teachers [...] Read more.
The lack of motivation among teachers is of increasing concern. Consequently, identifying motivations for their teaching performance can help to improve the quality and effectiveness of educational systems. The aim of this article was to translate the Work Tasks Motivation Scale for Teachers (WTMST) into Spanish, an instrument aimed at exploring teachers’ motivation and analyzing its psychometric properties. A non-probabilistic sample of 369 teachers (71.3% women) with an age measurement of 44.93 years (SD = 9.58) was used. Exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis were applied. The AFE suggested a first solution of four factors that explained 80.57% of the variance in the model. Likewise, a new factor analysis was generated with the extraction of a fixed number of factors indicated in the theoretical review, explaining 86.20% of the total variance. It was concluded that the WTMST is a scale that has evidence of validity and reliability, and that can be considered a valuable contribution to the evaluation of teacher motivation regarding specific tasks in Spanish-speaking populations. Full article
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12 pages, 558 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Perceived Mastery of Interdisciplinary Competences of Students in Education Degree Programmes
by Ángel-Freddy Rodríguez-Torres, Jorge Garduño-Durán, Sandra-Elizabeth Carbajal-García and José-Antonio Marín-Marín
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020144 - 31 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1683
Abstract
The importance of fostering interdisciplinary competences in students acquires a relevant value in the skills that must be developed throughout university studies. These enable them to tackle complex problems and apply knowledge in different contexts, promoting the construction of knowledge through the integration [...] Read more.
The importance of fostering interdisciplinary competences in students acquires a relevant value in the skills that must be developed throughout university studies. These enable them to tackle complex problems and apply knowledge in different contexts, promoting the construction of knowledge through the integration of different disciplines and collaboration between areas of knowledge. The study aims to analyse how university education students perceive their interdisciplinary competences, identifying areas where they feel more confident and those in which they need to improve, with consideration of gender differences and a possible measurement model. The study involves 1066 students from university education courses in Ecuador. The main results highlight the importance of strengthening training in interdisciplinary skills for future teachers, especially in reflective behaviour and the integration of knowledge from different disciplines to address complex problems. It also points to the need to promote interdisciplinary work in higher education and recognises that gender may influence students’ interdisciplinary perceptions and skills. Confirmatory factor analysis supports the validity of the model for measuring these competences. Full article
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15 pages, 288 KiB  
Article
Self-Esteem among University Students: How It Can Be Improved through Teamwork Skills
by Elena De Prada, Mercedes Mareque and Margarita Pino-Juste
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010108 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 3079
Abstract
Teamwork skills have been demonstrated to be excellent allies for the academic and professional sphere, and they can improve students’ psychological balance and self-esteem. For this reason, it is important to explore the relationship between teamwork skills and self-esteem. Considering the relevance of [...] Read more.
Teamwork skills have been demonstrated to be excellent allies for the academic and professional sphere, and they can improve students’ psychological balance and self-esteem. For this reason, it is important to explore the relationship between teamwork skills and self-esteem. Considering the relevance of soft skills and self-esteem in university training, the main objective of this study is to determine whether there is a relationship between teamwork skills and the successful development of self-esteem, a fundamental emotional factor in education. Additionally, we will analyse how self-esteem is related to other socio-academic factors (age, sex, and GPA). A questionnaire was distributed to social science university students. The Rosenberg 10-item scale, which aims to measure feelings of personal worth and self-respect, has been used to determine self-esteem. To measure soft skills for teamwork, we chose the Teamwork Skills Questionnaire, which evaluates the skill level of an individual in order to participate effectively in teamwork. The regression model indicates that self-esteem predictors related to teamwork skills are decision making, leadership, and communication. The results suggest significant differences in some individual variables, such as sex and age, with lower self-esteem being observed in females and older students. The described enriching interactions suggest the need to integrate teamwork training and self-esteem fostering at university to offer students lifelong competencies for their future success. Full article
15 pages, 307 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Employability Skills of Biology Graduates through an Interdisciplinary Project-Based Service Learning Experience with Engineering and Translation Undergraduate Students
by José Luis González-Cespón, José Antonio Alonso-Rodríguez, Susana Rodríguez-Barcia, Pedro Pablo Gallego and Margarita R. Pino-Juste
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010095 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1016
Abstract
We describe an interdisciplinary experience based on the application of the Project-Based Service Learning (PBSL) methodology for six learning outcomes directly related to employability skills. The objective was to assess students’ learning outcomes, the level of satisfaction of students and lecturers with the [...] Read more.
We describe an interdisciplinary experience based on the application of the Project-Based Service Learning (PBSL) methodology for six learning outcomes directly related to employability skills. The objective was to assess students’ learning outcomes, the level of satisfaction of students and lecturers with the PBSL, and the advantages and disadvantages of the implementation of this learning methodology. Interdisciplinary teamwork of undergraduate science, engineering, and humanities students was required to design real-world projects to develop their transferable skills, through the process of learning by doing. Students perceived that PBSL favored employability skills such as knowledge acquisition, self-directed learning, problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork skills. Students and lecturers showed high satisfaction with PBSL and outlined its advantages as an active and experiential learning methodology. In conclusion, the implementation of the collaborative and interdisciplinary PBSL methodology is decidedly recommended to enhance Biology, Engineering, and Translation graduates’ learning satisfaction and their future employability. Full article
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