NICE Curriculum Framework
The NICE Curriculum Framework provides an overview of contents and learning outcomes, which could be appropriate for degree programmes in career guidance and counselling. Its purpose is to inspire the design and development of degree programmes in our field, and to offer a systematic reference, which could be used for the evaluation of curricula.
The NICE Curriculum Framework is composed of nine modules (see Figure 1). The modules systemise numerous ideas for the definition of learning outcomes in terms of competences and resource requirements. We have tried to make due reference to all important aspects, but the description cannot be exhaustive. Additionally, each module proposes suitable approaches for teaching, learning and assessment, which can inspire curriculum development and design.
Three Knowledge Modules (K-Modules) make up the foundation of the NICE Curriculum Framework. They provide basic knowledge, which is important for the practice of all five NICE Professional Roles. In Figure 1, they form the “foundation of the temple”. To organise the various pieces of knowledge, which are of general importance for the practice of career guidance and counselling, we differentiate between knowledge on:
- Individuals and Careers (Module K1)
- Organisations, Groups, and Communication (Module K2)
- Society, Politics, and Markets (Module K3)
The five Competence Modules (C-Modules) correspond with the NICE Professional Roles. In Figure 1, they form the “pillars of the temple”. In each of these modules, readers will find ideas for role-specific learning outcomes:
- Career Education (Module C1)
- Career Assessment & Information (Module C2)
- Career Counselling (Module C3)
- Career Service Management (Module C4)
- Social Systems Interventions (Module C5)
Three types of resource requirements are presented as part of the C-Modules. They refer to the psychosocial resources, which career practitioners shall develop as the basis of their competences for practice in career guidance and counselling. We define the three types of psychosocial resources as follows (NICE 2012, 38):
- Cognitive resources mainly reflect knowledge that people have and can use to find solutions to specific questions or problems. Cognitive resources go beyond information (who, what, when) and comprise the understanding of theories (why, how), i.e. assumptions on how different phenomena are connected with one another (causal relations).
- Affective resources are aspects that bring about the motivation and volition (willpower) of practitioners to do the right thing. They become visible through attitudes and behaviours, such as individual judgments people make, actions taken, ideas expressed and so on. Attitudes very strongly determine how people act and think and are strongly influenced by their values and societal norms.
- Behavioural resources are frequently referred to as skills. Skills differ from knowledge, as they are action-oriented and come for the experience of having done something before. The quality of skills is primarily based on the quality of knowledge and the amount of practice, which people have had in doing something, e.g. in the application of a particular technique or instrument.
The C-Modules are particularly helpful in translating the European Competence Standards (ECS) into more detailed learning outcomes, since the resource requirements are directly linked to the corresponding NICE Professional Role. Through the broad diversity of learning outcomes, they help in keeping an overview of what relevant aspects of training could be.
Generic Professional Competences (Module P1)
Finally, the Generic Professional Competences Module (Module P1) describes learning outcomes, which are important for the practice of all NICE Professional Roles, and which go beyond general knowledge (which can be found in the K-Modules). The P-Module corresponds with the domain of the Generic Professional Competences of the European Competence Standards. In particular, cognitive, affective and behavioural resources can be found here, which refer to professional ethics, dealing with complexity, reflective practice, research and analysis. In Figure 1, the P-Module forms the “roof of the temple” in analogy to the idea of the career guidance and counselling profession, which integrates the five professional roles, holds them together, and gives practice direction (see NICE Professional Roles).