International Congress on Archives
process needs to help students learn how to acquire knowledge, transfer knowledge and connect
This is supported by the persistent belief in the literature that professional
development needs to continue in the workplace or through professional associations once initial
qualifications have been obtained.
Aspin and Field, writing about adult education, both explore the
metaphor of banking and midwifery in relation to learning. Education is no longer a bank, passively
handing out a set body of knowledge. It is more like a midwife, supportive of the efforts of the
individual and encouraging a sense of purpose and achievement.
The use of competency standards for course recognition and accreditation has been a recurring theme:
The Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) has used competency standards for course
recognition, but this is creating concern in terms of resources and relevance.
The Society of American Archivists (SAA) guidelines on graduate archival education
described course content and percentages in some detail.
Thomassen argued that professions should not be designing courses but identifying archival
competencies (which I argue to be more like capabilities).
Anderson expressed concern about accreditation using competencies that were too focused on
performance and did not account for the study of theoretical concepts.
This overview of trends reveals changing approaches to learning and a depth and diversity of resources
on curriculum development for the archives and records profession. Use of these resources for future
professional development initiatives should be encouraged, rather than ignored and the research work
Question 2: What are some of the uncertainties or problems with using competency standards for
Edwards and Knight, in discussing competence in relation to higher education, articulated the ongoing
contest between the positivist and humanist paradigms of competence:
The tension lies in a distinction between an emphasis on the assessment of key aspects of
performance in context and an emphasis on the developing knowledge and culture of the
subject or profession into which the student is being inducted.
Beattie in the 1990s argued that competencies did not have to be reductionist and mechanistic, but
could reflect learners' perspectives, their ethics and values.
This would indicate that the concept of
K Anderson, `Greater than the sum of the parts: educating professional recordkeepers', Past caring: What Does
Society Expect of Archivists?, Proceedings of the Australian Society of Archivists Conference, Sydney, 1317
August, 2002, p. 56; T Thomassen, `Modelling and remodelling archival education and training', Reading the
Vital Signs: Archival Training and Education in the 21
Century, European Conference for Archival Educators
and Trainers, Marburg, 2425 September 2001, International Council of Archives website:
(accessed 22 April 2004), p. 10.
Anderson, Issues in Professional Education, p. 10; Cox, p.141; Eastwood, p. 465.
D Aspin, `The learning revolution: knowledge, learning, technology', Leading & Managing, Volume 3, Number
3, 1997, p. 185; L Field, p. 169.
S McCausland, `Accreditation: purpose, process and value', Archives at Risk: Accountability, Vulnerability and
Credibility, Proceedings of the Australian Society of Archivists Conference, Brisbane, July 1999, p. 55; K
Anderson & D Cuddihy, `Consulting our constituency: an account of the Australian Archives and Records
Education Stakeholders Forum, 2003', Asia and Pacific Conference on Archival Education, Renmin University,
Beijing, 1719 April 2004, p. 4.
Society of American Archivists, p. 2.
Thomassen, p. 11.
Anderson, Issues in Professional Education, p. 10.
A Edwards & P Knight, `The assessment of competence in higher education`, in A Edwards & P Knight (eds),
Assessing Competence in Higher Education, Kogan Page, London, 1995, p. 19.