The controversies that have developed in recent years in the field of education and training around program and competency-based approaches are not without reminiscent of those which are at the origin of a reflection on the question of methods to monitor, control, organize and shape innovation in science and technology "and led to the emergence of the notion of responsibility for innovation and research "(Pellé & Reber, 2015). This book is clearly part of this type of approach. Starting from a current state of play on the issues and controversies raised by curricular and competency-based approaches (Chapters 1 and 2), this book aims at presenting new theoretical frameworks, allowing to account for the processes implied by the implementation of these pedagogical innovations and, in particular, those which, at the very heart of the skills mobilized, promote a "responsibility" dimension. Based on a developmental approach to individual and collective competencies and their evaluation (Chapters 3, 4 and 5), it attempts to show how this approach can mobilize educational practices on strong societal issues, such as "sustainable development "(Chapter 5). Lastly, it aims to provide theoretical and practical benchmarks to help engage educational teams and institutions in these innovative and responsible approaches by providing a coherent framework for doing so (Chapters 6, 7 and 8).
Catherine LOISY, Ecole normale superieure de Lyon (ENSL), Institut francais de l'education (IFE).
Jean-Claude COULET, Chercheur associe, CRPCC Universite Rennes 2 et Open Lab. Exploration Innovation, CRCGM Universite d'Auvergne.
Most of the works published so far in the Responsible Research and Innovation set (RRI, seven in English and four in French)1 prioritize normative (moral and political philosophy) and descriptive approaches2. They attempted, through different approaches, to deploy the concept of responsibility in order to make the notion of RRI actually responsible and not just an association of principles according to the trend like stakeholder participation or open science. Similarly, these studies were based on case studies and their evaluation. However, between norms and practices, learning takes place in all its dimensions. RRI, no less than the policy issues to be addressed today, whether that of the democratic debate undermined at its very basis by what has perhaps been hastily called post-truth or those of energy transition, which go hand in hand with the fight against global warming, cannot afford not to ponder the learning processes and proposals offered in this regard.
Too often, moral and political philosophy or social science theory are deadlocked on learning models embedded or imagined in their discussions. This learning theme was highlighted in Marc Maesschalck's3 book in this same series. Indeed, stakeholders must be able to interpret the norms, as well as destabilizations, that they induce and in different contexts each time. Piaget, whose study is exploited in this collective work, spoke more generally of disturbance, rebalancing, assimilation and accommodation.
Though RRI, like many experiments described as "collective intelligence exercises", calls for a broader inclusion of heterogeneous stakeholders, much still has to be done to know what to learn from one another and how to proceed.
This collective work addresses this in a comparative way (Belgium, Canada, France and Switzerland) by benchmarking between the programbased approach (PBA) and the competency-based approach (CBA).
The PBA opposes the course-based approach. It is more dynamic and demanding because it involves a shared training project, which is the basis of a study program (vision, values, competencies and organization) and requires a collegial approach for it to be carried out. The relevance of the PBA for RRI-type approaches is noted here, particularly because we do not always have all the knowledge at the beginning of the project that would suffice to be acquired from people who hold such knowledge. The program is also one of the important policy highlights in the structuring of any individual, but especially collective, research; we think of the famous "Programme Horizon 2020" (Horizon 2020 Program) in Europe.
The issue of competencies, more widely developed in this book, is even more valuable for RRI. Competency, or ability, is one of the possible meanings attached to moral responsibility, which is essential to RRI. It is therefore a significant detour to better define competency, and equally with regard to learning specialists. Most studies in the field of RRI, or forms of participatory evaluation (Participatory Technological Evaluation)4, or even for democratic decisions (participatory democracy), do not make efforts towards thinking and discussing the learning required for all these developments, even if they are desirable.
A theoretical discourse on PBAs and CBAs coexists here with established issues such as the competencies of environmental health engineers charged with the responsibility of advising public authorities on environmental risks regarding people's health, the initiative of the Conférence Française des Grandes Ecoles and the Conférence des Présidents d'Université: "Guide compétences développement durable et responsabilité sociétale"5, (Sustainable Development and Social Responsibility Competencies Guide) or the ten years of implementation of European policy in a Belgian university.
Support for any innovation involves the concern for learning and the acquisition of new competencies. This issue is adequately discussed in this book and formalized as such in clear tables. Moreover, several sections are devoted to higher education which is one of the prioritized areas of RRI.
Although the term competency is often used, however, it is still difficult to grasp. It is often used lightly, along with its assessment: competency or more precisely performance assessment. Yet, it is difficult to directly observe a competency, which is conceived as a sociocognitive construct that can be activated in a situation. We often limit ourselves to observing only the activity and its results. Gathering information from subjects (their intentions, motivations, choice motives in the activity and knowledge mobilized, etc.) becomes essential if we aim at competency that produces performance. However, performance does not necessarily ensure competency. It is possible, for example, to succeed with erroneous conceptions, unsuitable operating procedures, or even by benefiting from a series of circumstances.
Added to this is the fact that competency can only be considered in a binary form (competent/non-competent), socially (recognition), as performance (a learned ability to adequately perform a task, duty or role in a situation). This last point equally indicates the relationship between competency, task and role, all of which are possible interpretations of moral responsibility.
Several background conceptions can be associated with competency: innate (such as inherited personal qualities), behaviorist (for example, objective-based pedagogy in view of performance) or constructivist (characterized by a wide diversity of theoretical points of view, from Piagetian to information processing theories through models inherited from social cognitivism) conceptions.
The authors of the book seem to share the idea that an individual's competency consists of elements of different natures, which are conceived as resources for carrying out a specific activity. These elements are generally described as the classical triptych of knowledge, know-how and interpersonal skills, or in a more conceptualized form as knowledge, abilities and attitudes. They however consider that competency is not simply a summation of these resources but their combination in a situation, and even going as far as integrating environmental resources as elements of competency.
Everything said about competency here reflects the sharing of responsibilities as discussed in previous works.
Several chapters in this book take up the scheme of competency in four components6 : operational invariants (all representations of the situation and the activity to be carried out that the subject considers as true and relevant in the performance of the action to be undertaken), inferences (the calculations which allow the adjustment of activities to the specificities of the situation by selecting or modifying the rules of action and anticipations), rules of action (the results of actions that are assumed to produce the expected outcomes) and anticipations (the outcomes expected by subjects throughout the implementation of their activity to regulate their activity by acting on the rules of action or by re-examining the operational invariants).
This reflexive scheme is reflected in a clearer and more elaborate version of the characteristics of Aristotelian habitus, reworked by the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu7. It is also promising and gives breadth to the so-called ethics of care or consideration8, to those that are concerned with anticipation, or even for those that demonstrate empowerment without significantly going beyond its expression.
The conceptions of individual and collective competencies presented in interaction in this book mark a break with those that make them a mere juxtaposition of knowledge, know-how and interpersonal skills in managerial-type organizational practices, or between knowledge, abilities and attitudes in the world of education, or even complex powers of acting based on the effective mobilization and combination of a variety of internal and external resources within a family of reference situations.
Similarly, one of the texts herein cautions and advises us not to confuse responsibility understood as accountability and responsibility as personal commitment. Directly imported from the business world, the first responsibility implemented in the transformation of public policies into technologies of change, often entrusted to managers or engineers, involves the setting of goals (standards or norms), evaluation of their performance (assessment), publication of the results (public reporting), and, eventually, the outcomes (incentives), which can take the form of a system of positive and negative outcomes. However, this conception of responsibility substantially reduces autonomy, the room for maneuver of stakeholders, by imposing a strong control system. More seriously, it attracts attention to secondary and passive tasks in relation to the core of the activities considered. It is our hope that RRI will draw the right conclusions by avoiding choosing an increased control that would ultimately be a sloughing off of responsibility.
Permanent Senior Research Fellow 1
National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)
Political Research Centre of Sciences Po
Sorbonne Paris Cité University
The reflections carried out to date in the Responsible Research and Innovation