Competency building approach implementation conditions in design of university physical education process



Dr.Hab., Professor V.I. Grigoriev
PhD, Associate Professor O.E. Piskun
Dr.Sc.Hist., Professor S.N. Pogodin
Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, St. Petersburg

Keywords: competency building approach, additive technology, technological domination, training paths, process recursiveness, discriminant analysis.

Introduction. The research subject matter is relevant due to the controversial interpretation of the competency building approach (CBA) to the design of university physical education process. Despite optimistic eloquence of the CBA supporters, the European constructs could not be adapted to the Russian physical education system effectively. Up to the present day, the specifics and structural mechanism for practical fulfillment of the functions stated in the project remain uncertain. The list of unresolved issues comprises that relating to specification of the subject area in university physical education (its content, structure and framework); theoretical and empirical components of teaching; relationship between theory and empirical knowledge. In practical terms, pursuance of originality defeats the purpose of CBA implementation.

Objective of the research was to explore the potential of the CBA implementation in order to improve efficiency of managing physical fitness of university students.

Methods and structure of the research. In the course of a year, a series of dynamic observations has been conducted among two groups of university students (teenage boys and girls aged 18±0.4): study group (SG, n = 96 people) and reference group (RG, n = 98 people). Dynamics of the students’ physical development and fitness indicators were compared: body length and weight, circumference measurements (shoulder, forearm, hip, shin, neck, chest, waist), body fat and muscle mass. Eye-hand coordination was monitored: movement duration in a single-task condition, reaction to a moving object, number of small-amplitude motions (Т-tmax), self-rating scale, readiness for maximal result.

Results and discussion. The competency building approach, which is considered to be innovative in terms of the national university physical education and targets training standards towards the criteria of successful professional activity, was developed by American specialists in McClelland and McBer consulting companies in the late 1950s [6]. It was followed by an upgrade of the training system principles resulting from competency models development in the universities of Great Britain and countries of continental Europe – Italy, France, Germany and then Russia. Predictably, the implementation of the competency building approach as a methodological basis for management of students’ training naturally led to an improvement in the quality of educational services and provided for positive development trend [1].

Discourse on science facts provides an insight into the scope for problem solution. Analysis revealed that general cultural competencies GCC-8 (self-organization and self-education skills formation) and GCC-9 (ability to apply methods and means of physical education to ensure proper social and professional activities) stated in the FSES HPE of the third generation (3+) are of secular nature. The fact should be considered within the development of physical training competency models based on multi-criteria requirements to the level of specialist’s competency. For instance, D.N. Davidenko points out the necessity of field-specific competencies development and places a priority on the qualitatively new objective: development of the transcultural synergy in the field of physical education (Lifelong Learning). Basically, D.N. Davidenko was the first one to suggest a competency-oriented method of designing a physical education process taking into consideration the actual level of students’ physical development [3]. It follows that the competency models, which are conventional for Russian universities, need to be upgraded and substituted by additive technologies to ensure structural consistency and flexibility of the educational process.

The issue under discussion carries various connotations, among which the core objective can be outlined: implementation of CBA for the purposes of determining the polyvariant spectrum of physical activity, interiorization of physical culture values as the instrument raising the training quality. According to N.Sh. Fazleyev, this may provide for systematization of the concept of competences as a foundation for didactic complex selecting motor patterns for students studying at various university departments by combinatorial codes [5].

Results of the poll conducted among teachers revealed 36 competences, which are most pertinent to the specialties and area of professional activities (in terms of motor activity). Results of the further discriminant analysis made it possible to form the cluster core including field-specific competences: d) motor – development of motor potential and physical qualities; k) cognitive – studying physical-education-related vocabulary and basic training tracks; c) communicative – development of communication skills; r) reflexive – improving behavioral patterns; o) organizational – self-management skills.

The selected group of field-specific competences was stratified into three layers: I) strong – good physical fitness; L) medium; H) weak. The presented stratification further became the foundation for the multi-dimensional matrix of physical training, which reflects the subset subsidiarity in dichotomy: physical training trajectory → optimal result. Layer algorithmization of physical training structures the control sequence in a sliding mode, demarcates the core and secondary processes excluding random training scenarios [2]. It should be noted that the use of the suggested approach complies with the decree of the RF Ministry of Education and Science № 1367 “On approval of the procedure and implementation of educational activities” dated December 19, 2013 [4]. 

The department has developed the competency building approach that is most compatible with the innovative tendencies. It is assumed that practical application of innovative technologies and the option of elective training paths, which are incorporated as part of the developed CBA, will enhance the effectiveness of the students’ activities in the field of physical education and targeting their activities towards physical culture values acquisition. Such an option implies a corresponding strategy geared to realize students’ potential capacities through their involvement into a system of motor, cognitive, assessment and other activities.

The concept allows for parametric orientation of the curriculum in the compulsory part of curriculum (72 academic hours) and elective courses within the discipline (328 academic hours), modules (lesson plans, case studies, training paths) for the 1st-3rd year students. Constructiveness of the concept reflects the law of recursive processes: the educational process is focused on balancing the students’ physical development. Limited impact of training is compensated by a vast variety of physical education services, technological explicitness of education within the “Open Faculty (physical education for everyone)” project implementation. This aspect clearly demonstrates the regulatory significance of its core essence for realization of the students’ existential potential.

Positive dynamics of the students’ health and competences attest to effectiveness of the suggested approach. In SG, it turned out that the improved results of the upper arm circumference measurements (by 6.8 and 5.3 percent for boys and girls respectively), chest circumference (by 9.1 and 8.7 percent for boys and girls respectively), shin circumference (by 7.4 and 6.9 percent for boys and girls respectively) (р≤0.05) were directly related to the improved results of the boys in the pull-ups on a horizontal bar (by 21 percent; r =0.675), girls doing the exercise “crunches” with hands on the nape in supine position (by 32 percent; r = 0.496). In the study group, 89 percent of the 96 research subjects showed results within the range of optimal consistent trends of motility phase states.

The observed improvement in eye-hand coordination (movement duration in a single-task condition decreased from 0.19 to 0.17 sec in both boys and girls; time of reaction to a moving object decreased from 0.09 to 0.07 sec; number of small-amplitude motions (Т-тmax) improved from 61.1 to 58.9 conv. units) was linked to the improved results in 100-meter dash (by 11.3 and 13.5 percent for boys and girls respectively; r =0.606), swim (by 6.1 percent on the average; r =0.411). The boys’ results in standing long jump improved by 12.5 percent versus 14.1 percent for the girls (r =0.521).

It is observed that the RG research subjects fell behind in all parameters of physical development and fitness. Despite successful completion of the curriculum, only 32 percent of the RG students demonstrated positive trends in 100-meter dash, 50-meter swim and standing long jump. Other indicators are classified as the class of borderline training conditions, which indicates the necessity of scientific revision of the given knowledge area, reconsidering the existing approaches to the sphere of physical training management in terms of the CBA implementation.

Conclusions. The interaction of competency-oriented training paths and cases, subjects of physical education activities is meant to provide a high-quality educational process. Naturally, this is not about further knowledge accumulation, but, first of all, about interdisciplinary exchange of technologies, models and programs of physical development. 

Generalizing consistency reflects the relations of the value-motivation and activity elements of a healthy lifestyle. For the present-day student youth generation, brought up in the information age of digital technologies and mobile platforms, feasibility and accomplishment of these objectives are conditioned by formation of new consumer habits, changing passive mental attitudes towards acquisition of physical culture values.

Technological domination of the concept is representative, since it transforms physical culture values into measurable results in practical terms, improves behavioral patterns substantially. As one can see, the competency building approach and the increasingly relevant technological tendency are the most plausible way of university physical education development, which is characterized by global invariance and irreversibility of development. 


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The paper provides assessment of the potential of the competency building approach implementation for improving the efficiency of the university students’ physical fitness management. The main objective of the CBA implementation within curriculum design characterizes the subset subsidiarity in dichotomy: physical training trajectory → optimal result. Special emphasis is placed on the issue of maximizing the effect of training by means of transition to additive technologies within the “Open Faculty (physical education for everyone)” project implementation.