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Key skill assessment unit: information literacy
Key skill assessment unit: information literacy

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3 Key skills assessment courses

This section gives advice and guidance to help you compile and present a portfolio of selected work. You are strongly advised to read through this section so that you have an idea of what is expected.

The key skills assessment courses provide an opportunity for you to integrate your development of key skills with your work or study. You may choose to concentrate on skills that you need to develop and improve for your job, for a new course, or personally to help you keep abreast of new developments or career changes. Developing skills is part of learning. The key skills approach provides you with a structure to help you think about how you learn and how you might improve both your learning skills and your performance. The key skills assessment courses give you an opportunity to demonstrate your capabilities in particular skills, and show that you can strategically plan your learning, monitor your progress and evaluate your work over a period of time.

Key skills are also about making connections between different aspects of your life – your study, your work and your other activities. All these might provide examples of work that you can select to demonstrate your skills. As you develop and improve your key skills you will also be improving the quality of your performance overall.

The Open University defines key skills in terms of seven broad areas: improving own learning and performance; communication; information technology; information literacy; application of number; problem solving and working with others. You, or your work place, may have used different terms to describe the skills but they are likely to cover broadly similar areas.

If you want to find out more about each of the key skills, the OpenLearn course U529_1 Key skills – making a difference includes detailed descriptions and more general information about learning and skills.

The key skills descriptions (except for information literacy) used by the Open University are based on national standards developed by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Details of the national standards can be found by searching for key skills standards and guidance on the QCA website at:

The key skills assessment courses have been designed to take account of these national standards and are referenced against them.