Professional-Educational Skills and Areas of Expertise

By Thomas Eklund

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In professional and personal development related areas, knowledge and skills complement each other. Lack of skills can render knowledge less effective, and lack of knowledge can reduce usefulness of the skills that are being applied.

Accordingly, both knowledge and skills are needed for higher education to be effective and to produce value to an individual. So, preferably, knowledge and skills should be also attained in a complementary manner. The latter – attaining knowledge and skills in a complementary manner – is an area that will be addressed in separate articles.

Below is a list of skill areas that are needed for attaining higher education and using it effectively in the workforce and in professional development related areas – skills, that meet both students and employers' needs.

The initial name of this list was Effective Higher Education Attaining and Usage Related Skills. The expertise-related subsection was named Effective Higher Education Attaining and Usage Related Areas of Expertise. These names are descriptive but rather long. For the sake of improved usability, the skills list was renamed to Professional-Educational Skills and the complementary list to Professional-Educational Areas of Expertise. These names help to emphasize the overlaps between the professional and educational aspects of the skills and expertise that are being attained.

Further, Professional-Educational Skills and Professional-Educational Areas of Expertise as names and concepts also help to emphasize important parts of this website's focus: combining learning with taking an active role in the development of skills and knowledge attainment projects. These areas will be explored further under the Core Concepts of this website.

The skills that are being listed here should not be confused with the 21st century skills, which is a set of core competencies that can help students to succeed. These two concepts were developed independently and for different age groups of learners.

Further, similarly to other concepts that are being addressed here, the initial lists form a hypothesis that will be researched and developed further as needed. Thus, the list presented below will remain work in process and as such is subject to changes.

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Professional-Educational Skills

  • As an educational foundation, at least a general knowledge and understanding of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and formal sciences. This foundational knowledge is listed under the skills here, to emphasize that the objective is to be able to combine the general knowledge with development of other skills, including analytical skills. Similarly, the value of the foundational knowledge is not so much in memorizing the facts, as it is in being able to use the knowledge in different areas and in different combinations.
  • Self-management, self-improvement and drive and motivation utilization skills.
  • Education selection, learning and studying skills.
  • Analytical, problem solving and interpretive skills, including cross-disciplinary, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary analytical skills.
  • Social, interpersonal and teamwork skills.
  • Communication and self-expression skills.
  • Creativity usage and applying skills.
  • Financial management skills.
  • Computer software and hardware usage, selection, administration and development skills.
  • Researching and data gathering/collecting, analysis and information management skills.
  • Personal and professional integrity usage skills.
  • Confidence usage skills.
  • Initiative usage and entrepreneurial skills.
  • Career development skills.
  • Stress handling, health and happiness management skills.
  • Life meaning development skills.
  • Project, business and organizational management skills.*

*Project, business and organizational management skills are not necessarily the most important or advanced skills that you need. However, it is very likely that you need to manage different types of projects in your own life on an ongoing bases. Similarly, you may have to manage projects in your professional life. The relevant skills are both useful and widely usable.

Similarly, no matter what you do, you can greatly benefit from having at least an understanding of business and organizational management and at least the corresponding basic skills. The same applies to the rest of the areas listed here. Life will make more sense to you and will be more fulfilling this way.

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Professional-Educational Areas of Expertise

Selected discipline, field, industry, profession and company or organization specific expertise, including understanding of interdisciplinary influences.

How to Use the Professional-Educational Skills Concept

Traditional Students and Adult Learners

For the best results, combine the professional-educational skills list with usage of a personalized education attainment method that works for you. Develop your skills in each category. Either seek out knowledge and skills development resource providers or create your own projects that help you to achieve the needed objectives.

Employers

Seek out service providers who provide courses or other solutions that enable to attain these skills and knowledge combinations that you find most valuable. Provide relevant information and assistance to the employees who are interested in taking the courses.

These employees who have attained skills and knowledge that enhance the effectiveness of higher education are also likely to benefit your company or organization more.

Educators, Educational Coaches, Advisers and Consultants, Skill Development Resource 

    Providers, Software Application Developers and Higher Education Entrepeneurs

Build professional-educational skills attaining projects and relevant concepts into the courses and instructions that you offer. Use student-centered teaching methods that help to empower and motivate students, such as Project Based Learning.

Couple of Clarifying Definitions

Skill – Learned capacity to carry out pre-determined results.

Expertise – Expert level knowledge and skills in a particular field.