VAST learning frameworks

For a long time, I have argued that there are four levels of abstraction in learning outcomes:

  • Values
  • Attitudes
  • Skills
  • Techniques

Several other models exist. Some educational theorists delineate between knowledge-based, skills-based and affective goals (incorporating values, attitudes and interests), which is essentially the same as the VAST framework that I have used. Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Goals provides a very sophisticated framework, highlighting the appropriate assessment procedures that might be adopted as well as the helping frame the learning outcomes themselves.

How much better could our schools and parents be if they had clear outcomes in mind? How much more effective could we be as people if we clearly had in mind the messages that we wanted to communicate to those around us?

Each level is critically important, though different in nature. Educational experiences often focus upon some of these outcomes more than others; sometimes deliberately, othertimes not. UNICEF has created a list of what it considers to be “Life Skills”, a list that I think is valuable, interesting and worthy of consideration by our educators. As you look at this list, consider how many of those skills you were deliberately taught – ever – and how much more powerfully you could live your life and impact upon the world if you had been…

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

  • Interpersonal communication skills
    Verbal/Nonverbal communication
    Active listening
    Expressing feelings; giving feedback (without blaming) and receiving feedback
  • Negotiation/refusal skills
    Negotiation and conflict management
    Assertiveness skills
    Refusal skills
  • Empathy
    Ability to listen and understand another’s needs and circumstances and express that understanding
  • Cooperation and Teamwork
    Expressing respect for others’ contributions and different styles
    Assessing one’s own abilities and contributing to the group
  • Advocacy Skills
    Influencing skills & persuasion
    Networking and motivation skills

Decision-Making and Critical Thinking Skills

  • Decision making / problem solving skills
    Information gathering skills
    Evaluating future consequences of present actions for self and others
    Determining alternative solutions to problems
    Analysis skills regarding the influence of values and attitudes of self and others on motivation
  • Critical thinking skills
    Analyzing peer and media influences
    Analyzing attitudes, values, social norms and beliefs and factors affecting these
    Identifying relevant information and information sources

Coping and Self-Management Skills

  • Skills for increasing internal locus of control
    Self esteem/confidence building skills
    Self awareness skills including awareness of rights, influences, values, attitudes, rights, strengths and weaknesses
    Goal setting skills
    Self evaluation / Self assessment / Self-monitoring skills
  • Skills for managing feelings
    Anger management
    Dealing with grief and anxiety
    Coping skills for dealing with loss, abuse, trauma
  • Skills for managing stress
    Time management
    Positive thinking
    Relaxation techniques

Link – UNICEF website.