Assessing competencies

Pacific Edge Permaculture + Media pacedge at
Sun Dec 23 19:06:21 EST 2001

Discussions of what competencies are relevant to permaculture is vital.

The value of defining permaculture compentencies and providing the training
so that students become basically competent in them is that permaculture
designers/ activists or whatever they call themselves can actually deliver
workable systems to the clients/ communities they work with. This would,
hopefully, include the follow-up and training of those clients/ communities
so that they understand and can manage the systems introduced. This prevents
system breakdown and abandonment.

Defining competencies puts permaculture practice onto a more grounded, more
solid footing in which achievability within the limits of available
resources becomes a criteria. Permaculture should then have workable,
efficient and effective systems to demonstrate to the curious and doubtful.

'Competencies' is the language that industry, educationalists and trainers
speak; it is a concept they (in Australia at least) understand and can
relate to. If we can use the same language, the same concepts, then we can
make headway in bringing permaculture training to a wider audience.

Defining competencies also make permaculture a more practical tool...
students have a clearer idea of what it is they need to learn to practice
permaculture successfully. It also opens the gates to updating permaculture
education and practice, to reviewing and evaluating them periodically. This
allows the practice to evolve and adapt to contemporary circumstances.

Defining competencies also enables the setting on minimal standards of
performance and should replace woolly ideas with clear, grounded ideas,
making permaculture a clearer, more explicable concept.

...Russ Grayson

> From: <permed at>
> Reply-To: "permaculture" <permaculture at>
> Date: Mon, 24 Dec 01 22:29:23 -0000
> To: "permaculture" <permaculture at>
> Subject: Re: Robyn--assessing competencies
>> Do you have plans for the media to be used to
>> evaluate the competencies? Plasticene modelling,
>> oral-explanatory, written-explanatory,
>> demonstrated, others? The answer to these
>> question may help narrow the field a little.
> The focus is on 'workplace' assessment - the ability to actually
> do/deliver the task/product in the real word as opposed to understanding
> the theory. 
> If the competency is to make a plasticine model then yes. But making
> plasticine models is not a permaculture competency although it might have
> a place as a learning strategy.
> The means of assessment will be detirmined by what the competency is.
> One can make a plasticine model of a chicken and explain a chicken system
> beautifully but that doesn't mean they are competent with chickens.
> Taking the chicken as an example for a competency 'Design an integrated
> permaculture chicken system' the assessment would involve drawing and
> explaining a design for a chicken system
> If the competency is 'Design and implement an integrated permaculture
> chicken system' then as well as the design the assessment would involve
> an assessor observing and questioning the student as they do their daily
> chicken tasks about their management strategies, the design of the
> system, it's links with adjoining systems, the health and well being of
> the chickens etc.
> It's all in how we actually word the competencies
> Hope that helps
> Robyn
> Djanbung Gardens Permaculture Education Centre
> home to: 
> Permaculture Education
> ERDA Institute Trust
> Nimbin Eco-Village Project Office
> Robyn Francis - permaculture designer & educator
> PO Box 379, Nimbin NSW 2480 Australia
> Ph 02-6689 1755 Fax 02-6689 1225
> permed at
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