Improving the quality of Portuguese SMEs through competence evaluation

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Problem and goal. Since we are going through a key moment in terms of technological advances and their effect on the labour field, the investigation of the on-the-job training processes gains a predominant role. Moreover, the need to research an approach that promotes a balance between the four spheres of development of learning – economic, sustain-able, community and personal – is emerging. This study was conceived as a result of this ur-gency, aiming to respond to the following problem: to what extent does a training model, based on the VPL (Validation of Prior Learning) approach and supported by principles of the educational sciences, can contribute to individual empowerment and, consequently, to an improvement in the organizational quality of Portuguese SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises)? Methodology. The division of the research into two parts – Study 1 and Study 2 – al-lowed the collection and analysis of structural data (Study 1) that served as a basis for the defi- nition of a dynamic strategy (Study 2). Although undertaken at different times, they have thus proved to be complementary. In fact, the design of the training model was based, firstly, on the results obtained through exploratory interviews with key informants and, secondly, on the data obtained throughout the training process that involved ninety-two employees from ten Portuguese SMEs from diverse categories and sectors. Results. The training model, which emerged from the interaction between the theoreti-cal reflection and the practical context, comprises five components: distance learning, recog-nition of skills, language skills, intercultural skills and an individual action plan. Conclusion. This study, being an important contribution to the topic of on-the-job training in Portuguese SMEs, at the same time opens the way for the continuation of the research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-93
Number of pages11
JournalRUDN Journal of Informatization in Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • lifelong learning
  • human resources and skills
  • technology in lifelong learning
  • foreign languages and cultural diversity
  • VPL approach
  • On-the-job training
  • SMEs


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