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Skills profiling web service, extending the PDP service from WS4RL project and integrating with Bodington.

DeL eTools - SPWS (Skills Profiling Web Service)


SPWS Project Web Site 

SPWS CETIS Development Page

SPWS sourceforge 

Distributed eLearning - eTools Page

Software Description

We propose to extend the Personal Development Planning (PDP) web service currently being developed by the WS4RL [1] project and, creating a portable skills framework, add a sophisticated skills reflection, profiling and guidance service.  This service will be integrated into the Bodington VLE and tools developed to help teachers deploy and manage the service. The work will be exemplified in a medical context. 

The project is a collaboration between The University of Oxford (Computing Services [OUCS] and Medical Sciences), The University of Leeds (Learning Development Unit [LDU] and Medical School) and The University of Liverpool (Centre for Lifelong Learning [CLL] and Medical School). 

FE and HE need a situation where all the lifelong PDP partners have a common PDP skills framework so that levels of attainment in the different skill areas are reasonably unambiguous and agreed. It is not the process that needs to be similar – (quite apart from anything else each different institution or employer, etc. is likely to have their own priority in skills development) - it is the information that needs to be compatible. 

Every learner at any time needs to have a well-defined personal development profile. The complexity of the profile depends on the level of detail of the PDP skills framework. One scenario is that the learner needs to have an attainment level or stage, at each component skill, to serve as the parameter which, when supplied to the individual organisation's PDP programme decision system, comes up with a prescription of the most important things to do as the next PDP activity.

One major benefit of this formal approach is the ability to automatically link to useful resources for personal development. The PDP service can recommend the next thing to do, based on things like whether any evidence has been assembled for a given skill area, or whether the need is felt to do something about it. (This last point indicates that it is not necessarily always an objective diagnosis that is required, but sometimes a subjective sense of whether the level of skill is satisfactory to the learner himself or herself.) 

For this kind of reflection to be used effectively, there needs to be a simple way for teachers to create suitable learning resources; an easily accessible body of good practice needs to be built up by experts in the field. 

[1] Web Services for Reflective Learning – JISC funded project in e-Tools strand. 

Aims and Objectives

We will provide an example of a skills framework defined in terms of IMS specifications. The framework will be shown to be useable by populating it with several ‘generic’ key skills (eg, IT, Communications etc). 

In addition we aim to demonstrate the framework in use by pitching it in a medical context. We will show how new (medical) skills can be added to the framework and will provide instructions on how to do so. 

A PDP web service will be developed, this will offer a skills profiling service. In order to demonstrate the use of this service we will provide and exemplar application within the Bodington VLE. Bodington’s logbook facility will be enhanced to allow tutors to deploy the web service via a point and click interface. The service will also offer a search facility whereby a learner’s competency map is used as the basis for a repository search. 

The overall aim of the project is to demonstrate how a user agent (Bodington VLE) can be integrated with a service from the Learning Domain. We will also show how previously developed services can be used as building block for new services. 

Project Staff

Main Contact

Adam Marshall


Institution: The University of Oxford

Address: 13, Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6NN

Documents & Multimedia

Start date
7 September 2004
End date
31 March 2005
Funding programme
Distributed e-Learning programme
Project website