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The study reported here is seeking to gain enhanced understandings of the acquisition and development of core and generic skills in higher education and employment against a backcloth of continued pressure for their effective delivery from employers, government departments, and those responsible for the management and funding of higher education. This pressure appears to have had little impact so far, in part because of tutors' scepticism of the message, the messenger and its vocabulary, and in part because the skills demanded lack clarity, consistency and a recognisable theoretical base. Any empirical attempt to acquire enhanced understandings of practice thus requires the conceptualisation and development of models of generic skills and of course provision. These models are presented together with evidence of their validity, including exemplars of the patterns of course provision identified.