related to the InLOC Application Profiles

InLOC and the Europass Certificate Supplement

Introduction

This is an annex to the InLOC Final Report.

The Europass Certificate Supplement (ECS) [1] is

"A document describing the knowledge and skills acquired by holders of vocational training certificates. It provides additional information to that already included in the official certificate and/or transcript, making it more easily understood, especially by employers or institutions abroad."

However, it seems likely that in the fairly near future the ECS will be changed, merged into a Europass instrument of a different name, or in some other way cease to exist in its present form.

The relationship of the ECS to InLOC has been described in the InLOC Guidelines, in the section on Integrating InLOC with European Learner Mobility specifications. It is also mentioned in the InLOC Application Profile of Europass.

In outline, the position of the InLOC project is that the ECS has no widely implemented ICT representation, and for that reason alone there is no good case to be made in favour of standardizing an application profile. The project found only one suggestion for an ICT representation, which was from the eCOTOOL project. [2] The eCOTOOL proposal satisfies the requirement to allow proper reference to InLOC information, and this is in keeping with aims of the eCOTOOL project.

The way in which the eCOTOOL proposal meets the needs of referring to InLOC information is described below.

eCOTOOL ECS example XML

In the eCOTOOL project, deliverable 3.5 included an XML example of an envisaged ECS, based on a informal draft of a vocational certificate for the occupation of "wine grower", as defined in Germany. The XML file from eCOTOOL (attached to the wiki) omits many of the URI references, illustrating a legacy ECS with few URI references.

The version of that ECS (in PDF format), which formerly appeared on the BIBB web site, is given in a file attached to the wiki.

The relevant section is Section 3 of the ECS, which is represented in the eCOTOOL XML in an abilityProfile element. The eCOTOOL deliverable included just a few URI IDs, to illustrate how a this could work with a forward-looking ECS, using URI references to a potential InLOC structure, given further below.

The example here illustrates a possible abilityProfile section of the ECS, represented in eCOTOOL format, with invented URIs added, slightly modified from the German BIBB version cited above. These URIs could refer to an InLOC structure, and this is illustrated further below. There is no provision in the ECS for any details of the separate ability elements, and that illustrates one of the main values of the InLOC structure, where much other information about each ability can be represented.

extract from example ECS XML (based on the eCOTOOL example)
<originalTitle xml:lang="de">Winzer/Winzerin</originalTitle>
<translatedTitle>Wine grower (m/f)</translatedTitle>
<abilityProfile>
    <abilityURI>http://www.example.com/abilities/1</abilityURI> 
<!-- this is an imagined URI for the overall ability for the ECS -->
    <freeText></freeText> <!-- only used if separate abilities are not defined -->
    <ability>
        <abilityName>Cultivate and tend vines for the purpose of growing grapes</abilityName>
        <abilityURI>http://www.example.com/abilities/109</abilityURI>
    </ability>
    <ability>
        <abilityName>Make wine using oenological processes</abilityName>
        <abilityURI>http://www.example.com/abilities/111</abilityURI>
    </ability>
    <ability>
        <abilityName>Make other products from grapes and wine</abilityName>
        <abilityURI>http://www.example.com/abilities/113</abilityURI>
    </ability>
    <ability>
        <abilityName>Handle and maintain machinery, plants and company
         equipment and be aware of and assess processes</abilityName>
        <abilityURI>http://www.example.com/abilities/115</abilityURI>
    </ability>
    <ability>
        <abilityName>Procure and evaluate information</abilityName>
        <abilityURI>http://www.example.com/abilities/117</abilityURI>
    </ability>
    <ability>
        <abilityName>Work and tend the soil to maintain sustainable fertility</abilityName>
        <abilityURI>http://www.example.com/abilities/119</abilityURI>
    </ability>
    <ability>
        <abilityName>Plant, tend and use vines with in a quality oriented manner
         and in accordance with environmental considerations</abilityName>
        <abilityURI>http://www.example.com/abilities/121</abilityURI>
    </ability>
    <ability>
        <abilityName>Fill, label and pack wine</abilityName>
        <abilityURI>http://www.example.com/abilities/123</abilityURI>
    </ability>
    <ability>
        <abilityName>Assess and present wine</abilityName>
        <abilityURI>http://www.example.com/abilities/125</abilityURI>
    </ability>
    <ability>
        <abilityName>Market wine and other products</abilityName>
        <abilityURI>http://www.example.com/abilities/127</abilityURI>
    </ability>
    <ability>
        <abilityName>Advise customers</abilityName>
        <abilityURI>http://www.example.com/abilities/129</abilityURI>
    </ability>
    <ability>
        <abilityName>Comply with national and EU statutory regulations</abilityName>
        <abilityURI>http://www.example.com/abilities/131</abilityURI>
    </ability>
    <ability>
        <abilityName>Execute work activities in an autonomous manner
         according due consideration to the principles of nature and
         environmental conservation, safety, health and safety at work
         and workplace ergonomics</abilityName>
        <abilityURI>http://www.example.com/abilities/133</abilityURI>
    </ability>
</abilityProfile>

The abilityProfile has an optional abilityURI that may point, in InLOC terms, to a LOCstructure or a LOCdefinition — that is, either to a whole structure of learning outcomes as skills or competences, or to one more general learning outcome within an existing structure or framework. If abilityURI elements are present for both abilityProfile and ability, the eCOTOOL example illustrates a fully adequate instance of the reference pattern, "twin-URI-structure-definition" as explained in the Referencing InLOC information section of the Guidelines. If only the ability has an abilityURI, it would illustrate a fully adequate instance of the reference pattern, "single-URI-LOC".

eCOTOOL ECS XSD

To support this representation of an ECS, eCOTOOL published an XML Schema Definition (XSD). The XSD is attached to the wiki. No alterations need to be made to this XSD for InLOC, as it is already fully adequate to allow effective reference to InLOC information. Thus, if the eCOTOOL proposal were more widely implemented, there would be no need for an application profile of this XSD for InLOC purposes.

A related InLOC competence structure

The eCOTOOL project took as an example the ECS mentioned above. It is not difficult to create an InLOC structure corresponding to section 3 of this ECS, and this is attached to the wiki. Illustrative extracts are given below.

The overall LOCstructure corresponds to the broad ability represented by the ECS as a whole, and there is a LOCdefinition for each of the "skills or competences" listed in the ECS Section 3. This InLOC structure can also supply much extra information that may or may not appear on an ECS. One piece of information that does appear on an ECS is the overall level of the Certificate. InLOC can give a full label for the level, with a URI if available, but also a number representing just the part of the level that is directly comparable as a number.

InLOC representing the level of the whole ECS
<LOCassociation type="http://purl.org/net/inloc/level">
    <subject id="http://www.example.com/abilities/winegrower/1"></subject>
<scheme id="http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Pages/international-standard-classification-of-education.aspx">
        <label>ISCED 2011</label>
    </scheme>
    <object id="http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/ISCED/2011#35"> <!-- invented here -->
        <label>ISCED level 3, Vocational (35)</label>
    </object>
    <number>3</number>
</LOCassociation>

InLOC can represent cross-references between one Section 3 item and any other classification. Here is a reference from "Make wine using oenological processes" to a "NACE" code. The English name of NACE is "Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community". The Wikipedia URL is used as the relevant URI explaining NACE as a whole, as there is no short URI for NACE as a whole given in the pages of RAMON: Eurostat's Metadata Server. No URIs are yet officially allocated to NACE codes, and just the code itself is given here as the object id. It would be more useful for linked data if every id were officially published as a URI.

Illustration of possible NACE category
<LOCassociation type="http://purl.org/net/inloc/category">
    <subject id="http://www.example.com/abilities/winegrower/111"></subject>
    <scheme id="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_Classification_of_Economic_Activities_in_the_European_Community">
        <label>NACE</label>
    </scheme>
    <object id="11.02">
        <label>Manufacture of wine from grape</label>
        </object>
</LOCassociation>

The same competence "Make wine using oenological processes" can be cross-referenced to a classification in AGROVOC.

Illustration of AGROVOC classification
<LOCassociation type="http://purl.org/net/inloc/category">
    <subject id="http://www.example.com/abilities/winegrower/111"></subject>
    <scheme id="http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_7644">
        <label>AGROVOC technology</label>
    </scheme>
    <object id="http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_8405">
        <label>Winemaking</label>
        </object>
</LOCassociation>

The next extract illustrates a possible topic of the competence "Handle and maintain machinery, plants and company equipment and be aware of and assess processes". The competence is about winemaking equipment, but of course the equipment itself refers to objects. It seems reasonable to say that the competence has the topic "winemaking equipment".

Illustration of a topic of a competence
<LOCassociation type="http://purl.org/net/inloc/topic">
    <subject id="http://www.example.com/abilities/winegrower/115"></subject>
    <scheme id="http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_330919">
        <label>AGROVOC objects</label>
    </scheme>
    <object id="http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_25770">
        <label>Winemaking equipment</label>
        </object>
</LOCassociation>

InLOC allows inclusion of "further information", that may go beyond the plain description. The following extracts were invented for the eCOTOOL project. They are partly about the competence, but also partly more widely explanatory, so may not be considered strictly to be simply descriptions.

Illustration of further information in a competence definition
<LOCdefinition id="http://www.example.com/abilities/winegrower/123">
    <description>Fill, label and pack wine</description>
    <description xml:lang="it">Riempire, etichettare e impacchettare il vino</description>
    <furtherInformation><![CDATA[
<div><p>Filling, labelling and packing wine may involve operating relevant specialist machinery.</p>
<ul>
<li>For large wine producers, the process will be largely automated, 
and the competence will involve extensive knowledge of the operation of the automatic machinery.</li>
<li>For small wine producers, each process may be separate and done manually, 
either by one person or by a team working together.</li>
</ul>
<p>In all cases, a person with this overall competence will take responsibility for 
ensuring that the wine is correctly labelled, and the label on the wine corresponds 
to the label on the packs; and for ensuring that the whole process complies with 
relevant health and safety and trading standards regulations.</p>
</div>
]]></furtherInformation>
    <furtherInformation xml:lang="it">
Riempire, etichettare e impacchettare il vino può richiedere l'uso di macchinari specialistici. 
Per produttori di vino su larga scala, il progesso sarà in gran parte automatizzato 
e la competenza includerà un'ampia conoscenza dell'operatività dei macchinari. 
Per piccoli produttori, ogni processo potrebbe essere separato e compiuto manualmente, 
da una persona o da una squadra. In ogni caso, una persona con questa competenza complessiva 
avrà la responsabilità di assicurarsi che il vino sia correttamente etichettato 
e che le etichette sul vino corrispondano a quelle sui pacchi; 
sarà inoltre responsabile di assicurarsi che l'intero processo si svolga 
in osservazione dei regolamenti standard di sicurezza salute e commercio.</furtherInformation>
</LOCdefinition>

<LOCdefinition id="http://www.example.com/abilities/winegrower/125">
    <description>Assess and present wine</description>
</LOCdefinition>

The XML example structure attached to the wiki is produced for illustration only. It simply shows a few possible features, based on the ones that were invented for the eCOTOOL project. A real example would be likely to be more consistent in its approach.

References and further reading

[1] Europass (2013) Europass: Certificate Supplement. Web pages: http://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/en/documents/european-skills-passport/certificate-supplement.

[2] The eCOTOOL Project (2012) eCOTOOL project web site http://www.competencetools.eu/.