Open Science & STEAM Competences

(PhD, University or Reading, United Kingdom) [2021]

Title of the thesis

Open Science & Open Innovation. A new paradigm to achieve STE(A)M competences


A global challenge is how to help learners achieve relevant competences in educational contexts, such as higher education, in the fields of science, technology, engineering, the arts and maths—or STE(A)M. A competence is an efficient combination of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that meet specific requirements in diverse contexts while keeping their meaning.
Competences are used to build academic programmes that align with the needs of the labour market, enabling graduates to gain required knowledge and skills in a proper context. However, there is a perceived gap between achieving competences and applying them in the market. Further, when competences are transferred from the academy to the workplace, the academic and professional competences do not seem to match. Although these competences are key for students to successfully transition into the labour market, research shows that they are not properly assessed or implemented, whether it is their definition, acquisition or transfer to the market. Further, it seems to be no clear, normalised framework to check whether a student has achieved these competences.
On the other hand, STE(A)M competences combine technical skills, problem-solving techniques, applied creativity, and creative thinking (from the arts) and they demand hours of training and assimilation before being integrated into the learner’s embedded behaviour. The challenge is twofold: The learning curve and the resources spent to master specific competences. But these two challenges do not address how to relate competences to the labour market and how to include the creativity component from the arts. Most research highlights the lack of an appropriate, effective and normalised way to integrate creativity into the technical components when achieving competences.
This thesis helps solve both research gaps: (1) Lack of a normalised framework; and (2) lack of an effective way to combine creative and technical competences, by using Open Science, Open Innovation and an Open Competence Framework.
The publications propose that Open Science and Open Innovation are key elements to design, implement, achieve and validate STE(A)M competences in an effective way out of a normalised, open and structured framework.
This thesis is developed based on three research questions: 1) How can Open Science contribute to complement official, accredited competences in STE(A)M in an effective way?; 2) How can Open Innovation support the design, implementation and validation of formal, non-formal and informal learning settings?; and 3) How can an Open Competence Framework become a key contribution to develop a new paradigm in achieving competences in educational settings?


University of Reading, United Kingdom

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