This Directory contains definitions and explanations of the 51 terms which indicate changes of technical difficulty, scope or autonomy. These indicators are defined as used in the WRLs and related to cognate terms in the WRLs and, in some cases, to parallel expressions used in qualifications frameworks. The entries also show the Elements and Stages which use the indicators.


activities | adapt advanced | approach | basic | carry out | collaborate with/on | communicate | complex | create/creation of /creative | critical | critically analyse | data | direct| evaluate/evaluation| familiar| field| general knowledge | group| guidance| highly| innovative| issue| know-how| knowledge| lead/lead on| learning| manage| modify| organisation| oversee| plan/planning| problem| procedure| process | question| range / a broad range| reconfigure| research| routine/non-routine| select| simple| skills| specialised/highly specialised| standard| straightforward| strategic| structured/highly structured| supervise| team| technical/technically complex

Indicators of progression

Activities

Meaning: See the definition for Element 1Activities”.

Compare with the definitions for: carry out, plan, procedure and process.

Term used in: most Elements at most Stages.

Related terms found in Qualifications Frameworks, etc: “actions”, “task(s)”, “operation(s)”, “work or study”, “work procedures and processes”, “defined areas of work”.

 

Adapt

Meaning: In the WRLs, adapting means making minor changes to the way of applying an existing procedure to meet a specific need or circumstance.

Term used in: Elements 4-6, 10 and 11 at Stage B2.

Compare with the definitions for: create, innovate, modify and reconfigure.

 

Advanced

Meaning: In the WRLs, advanced means beyond the usual, normal or routine in a field.

Used to describe: skills, procedures, processes, programmes, approaches, knowledge, know-how, understanding, ideas, issues and theories.

Compare with the definitions for: create, innovate, modify and reconfigure.

Term used in: Elements 1, 6, 7 and 8 at Stage D1; and Elements 5 and 10 at Stage D2.

Also: “the most advanced” – used in Elements 1, 6, 7 and 8 at Stage D2.

Related terms found in Qualifications Frameworks, etc: “leading”, “cutting edge”, “exceptional”, “state of the art”, “at the forefront”, “frontier concepts” / “recent developments”, “theoretically sophisticated”.

 

Approach

Meaning: In the WRLs, an approach is a way of tackling problems and issues or carrying outother activities – broader and less structured than a process.

Compare with the definitions for: process and procedure.

Term used in: Elements 10 and 11 at Stage C1; Elements 9, 10 and 11 at Stage C2; Elements 3, 10 and 11 at Stage D1; and Elements 10 and 11 at Stage D2.

 

Basic

Meaning: In the WRLs, basic is used in a restricted way, to mean “basic in/to a field” – ie underlying, underpinning, or making possible, activities in the field.  This implies some experience of activity in the field and therefore applies in Stage A2, but not Stage A1.  It is not used in the WRLs in the sense of “basic skills” – ie essential generic skills such as reading and writing.

Used to describe: skills, procedures, knowledge, data and measures of quality.

Compare with the definitions for:  familiar, simple, straightforward and routine.

Term used in: Elements 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11 at Stage A2.

 

Carry out

Meaning: In the WRLs, carry out signifies an individual taking action, alone or with others, under instruction or supervision, or autonomously. At lower levels, the term tends to indicate a limited or supervised role. At higher levels it may be used in relation to managerial or leadership responsibilities or it may indicate an expert or specialist role – ie an academic, or someone with specialised technical expertise in a particular area of a field, who may operate independently/outside an organisation, or within an organisation, but without a significant responsibility for managing others.

Compare with the definitions for:  supervise, collaborate with/on, lead on, manage, direct and oversee.

Term mainly used in: Elements 1, 5 and 9 at all Stages.

 

Collaborate with/on

Meaning: In the WRLs, collaborate with/on means engaging with others to work efficiently or effectively towards directed, planned or anticipated outcomes.  At level D collaboration is a responsibility to be undertaken with other experts, or managers to bring together the necessary skills to design, implement and/or evaluate activities, tools, procedures or processes.

Compare with the definition of Element 3: “Working with Others”.

Term used in: Element 3 at all Stages; and Elements 1, 7, 9, 10 and 11 at Stages D1 and D2.

 

Communicate

Meaning: See the definition for Element 6 “Communication”.

 

Complex

Meaning: In the WRLs, complex describes a situation where a number of elements, parts or considerations need to be taken into consideration, adjusted or balanced. 

Used to describe: activities, outcomes, processes, information, ideas, and data.

Compare with the definitions for: basic, simple, straightforward, routine, technical and technically complex.

Term used in: Elements 1, 2, 3, 5, 6,  7, 9 and 11 at Stages C1 and C2; and Element 5 at Stage D1.

 

Create / creation of / creative

Meaning: In the WRLs, create, creation of, and creative relate either to the production of meaningful new processes, insights or approaches which go beyond current understanding and practice or to using knowledge and know-how, skills, forms of communication, etc, in an original way.  

Compare with the definitions for: adapt, innovate, modify and reconfigure.

Term used in: Elements 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11 at Stage D2.

 

Critical

Meaning:  In the WRLs, critical is used to indicate significant importance or consequence.

Used to describe: activities and issues.

Compare with the definitions for: highly specialised (listed under specialised) and strategic.

Term used in: Elements 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 and 10 at Stage D2.

 

Critically analyse

Meaning: This means to examine carefully and in detail to determine the elements, causes, key elements, possible results, etc. of a issue or theory which draws on advanced ideas.

Compare with the definition for: advanced.

Term used in: Elements 6, 8 and 11 at Stages D1 and D2.

 

Data

Meaning: See the definition for Element 7 “Data”.

 

Direct

Meaning: In the WRLs, direct is used in a generic sense to indicate where an individual with a high level of expertise or responsibility has a broad accountability for the implementation, progress or completion of strategic or specialised activities.

Compare with the definitions for: manage, oversee, collaborate with/on, lead on and responsibility.

Term used in: Elements 1, 2, 5, 9, 10 and 11 at Stage D1.

 

Evaluate / evaluation

Meaning: In the WRLs, evaluate and evaluation are used to mean reaching a view on significance, worth or quality.   At levels A and B, where there is less emphasis on value in a wider perspective, performance and outcomes are said to be “checked” and “reviewed” against less complex standards.

Used to describe: performance and outcomes – also used in relation to information, ideas, data and approaches to addressing issues of value.

Compare with the definitions for: Element 4 “Quality”; Element 6 “Data”; and Element 11 “Values”.

Term used in: Elements 2 and 4 at Stage C1; Elements 2, 4 and 6 at Stage C2;  and Elements 2, 4, 6, 7 and 11 at Stages D1 and D2.

 

Familiar

Meaning: In the WRLs, “familiar” is mainly used to describe activities.  Unlike “simple”, but like “routine”, it implies some previous experience.  However, it also implies less capability than “routine”.

Compare with the definitions for: basic, simple and routine

Term used in: All Elements except 4 at Stage A2.

 

Field

Meaning: A field in the WRLs is an area of academic, social or occupational activity, responsibility, expertise or knowledge.  The term may be coupled with organisation as in “field or organisation” in levels C and D to cover the work of academics, experts and managers.

Compare with the definition for: organisation.

Term used in: Element 1 at Stage A1;  Elements 1, 5, 7 and 8 at Stage A2; Elements 7 and 8 at Stages B1 and B2; Elements 2, 5, 8 and 10 at Stage C1 and 2. Element 11 at Stage C2; and Elements 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 11 at Stages D1 and D2.

Related terms found in Qualifications Frameworks, etc: “area of work or learning”, “area /field of study or work”,  “subject/discipline/sector” , “field, discipline or practice”, “field of work or discipline”, “domain” and “profession”.

 

General

Meaning: In the WRLs, this means any knowledge, skills or procedures which are not specific to a field.  Knowledge or skills or ways of doing things which anyone might acquire in the course of general education or everyday life.

Term used in: Element 5 at Stage A1 (“general skills and procedures); and Element 8 at Stage A1 (“general knowledge”).

Related terms found in Qualifications Frameworks, etc: “knowledge for initial work, community involvement and/or further learning”, “foundational for everyday life…etc”, “elementary knowledge”, “foundation knowledge”

 

Group

Meaning: In the WRLs, this indicates a set of individuals with shared interests, or responsibilities coming together or brought together to pursue a complex or specialised goal or undertake a range of related activities.  The responsibilities of a group will be more demanding than that of a team, but less than that of an organisation. A group could be informal (eg a network) or formal (eg a managed structure within a business).

Compare with the definitions for: team and organisation.

Term used in: Elements 2, 3 and 4 at Stages C1 and C2; Elements 2 and 4 at Stage D1; and Element 4 at Stage D2.

 

Guidance

Meaning: In the WRLs, this means authoritative advice or direction based on established expertise and/or good practice. It is more formal than advising, but less formal than supervising.

Compare with the definitions for: supervise

Term used in: Element 2 at Stages B1 and B2; and Element 5 at Stage B1.

 

Highly

Meaning: See the definitions for: advanced, specialised and structured.

 

Innovative

Meaning: In the WRLs, this implies introducing new elements, methods or approaches to existing procedures, processes or approaches, or within an existing code or structure.

Compare with the definitions for: adapt, create, modify and reconfigure.

Term used in: Elements 3, 5, 6, 9, and 10 at Stage D1.

 

Issue

Meaning: An issue in the WRLs is a complication or predicament in an activity, requiring some investigation, discussion, or negotiation to allow the activity to proceed or be completed satisfactorily with appropriate or acceptable consequences.  In the WRLs an issue may take different forms but the term implies a difficulty linked to a dispute about the interpretation, understanding or best means of approach to the issue, which it may not be possible to fully resolve.  Issues may be “current” (implying that the nature of the issue is broadly recognised or agreed), “contingent” (implying that, while it is broadly agreed that there is an issue, the nature or scope of the issue is still to be determined), or “emerging” (implying that there is some agreement that there is an issue, that it may not be fully understood, but that it is likely to increase in importance over time).

See also Element 10 “Problems and issues”.

Compare with the definitions for: question and problem.

Term used in: Elements 8, 10  and 11 at Stages C1 and C2; and Elements 6, 10  and 11 at Stages D1 and D2.

 

Knowledge / Know-how 

Meaning: See Element 8 “Knowledge and Know-how”.

Terms used in: Elements 1, 4 and 8 at Stage A2; Elements 4 and 8 at Stages B1 and B2; Element 8 at Stages  C1 and C2; and Elements 1 and 8 at Stages  D1 and D2.

Also used: at Stage A1 in Element 1 (a lack of know-how), Element 4 (acquiring know-how) and Element 8 (general knowledge).

 

Lead / lead on

Meaning: In the WRLs, to “lead” means to exercise influence or power or take responsibility, for activities.  It can also mean to influence the direction of action, opinion, etc. on the basis of one’s status, expertise and/or reputation.  To “lead on” implies a specialist role – ie a role taken by someone with technical expertise in a very specific field. The individual do this as part of an organizational role with or without a significant responsibility for managing others, or may operate independently/outside an organisation.

Compare with the definitions for: manage, direct and oversee

Term used in: Elements 1, 9 and 11 at Stages C1, C2, D1 and D2; and Elements 3 and 10 at Stages D1 and D2.

 

Learning

Meaning: In the WRLs, see Element 4 “Quality”.

Related terms found in Qualifications Frameworks, etc, Include: “learning to learn”.

 

Manage

Meaning: In the WRLs, this term is not restricted to management as an occupational role in the WRLs.  The term may refer to organising or directing one’s own activities or the activities of others and may apply to a range of formal or informal setting, eg a network, a learning environment, a small business or division of a large business. The individual doing the managing could be a volunteer, a teacher, an expert or specialist, a team leader, an executive officer, etc..

Compare with the definitions for: supervise, lead on, direct, oversee and organisation

Term used in: Elements 1, 2, 5, 9 and 11 at Stages C1 and C2.

 

Modify

Meaning: In the WRLs, modifying means altering elements of an existing procedure to meet a specific need or circumstance, but without making radical or structural changes.  

Compare with the definitions for:  adapt, create, innovate, and reconfigure.

Term used in: Elements 5, 6, 9, 10 and 11 at Stage C1.

 

Organisation

Meaning: In the WRLs, this indicates a structure which is larger, more regulated and more long-term than a group.  It can include both informal and formal entities.  It could be a network, a learning environment, a small or large business, or a division of a large business.  The individual responsible for the group could be an academic, a volunteer leader, a manager, or an executive officer.   Sometimes linked to a field – eg lead “in a field or organisation”.

Compare with the definitions for: group and field

Term used in: Element 2 at Stages C1, C2, D1 and D2; Elements 1, 3, 4 and 6 at Stages D1 and D2; and Element 11 at Stages C2, D1 and D2.

 

Oversee

Meaning: This term is used in the WRLs in a generic sense to indicate where an individual with a very high level of expertise or responsibility has a wide-scale responsibility for the implementation, progress or completion of critical or highly specialised activities.

Compare with the definitions for: manage, direct, collaborate with/on, and lead on

Term used in: Elements 1, 2, 9, 10 and11 at Stage D2.

 

Plan / planning

Meaning: Planning in the WRLs implies more than straightforward preparation for an activity.  It may simply mean scheduling the tasks required for an activity, but it may also mean more demanding approaches such as interpreting, defining and/or structuring the activity. At higher levels it may be a collaborative activity

Compare with the definitions for: manage and collaborate with/on.

Term used in: Elements 1 at Stage B2; Element 2 at Stages B2, C1 and C2; and Element 4 at Stages B2, C1 and D1.

 

Problems

Meaning: See Element 10 “Problems and Issues”.

Compare with the definitions for: issue, question and research.

Term used in: Element 8 at Stages B1, B2, C1 and C2; and Elements 10 and 11 at Stages A1, A2, B1 and B2.

 

Procedure

Meaning: See Element 5Skills and Procedures”.

Compare with the definition for: process

Term used in: Elements 4, 5,  6, 7, 10 and 11 at Stages A1, A2, B1 and B2; Elements 4, 5 and 7 at Stage C1; Elements 4 and 5 at Stage C2; and Element 5 at Stages D1 and D2.

 

Process

Meaning: this means a high-level activity or set of activities which lead to a particular, pre-determined outcome.  A process may incorporate a number of procedures at different levels.

Compare with the definition for: procedure

Term used in: Elements 7 at Stages C2, D1 and D2; and Element 5 at Stages D1 and D2.

 

Question

Meaning: In the WRLs, question (as in “problems and questions”) indicates a minor issue which requires the individual to make a choice between a limited range of possible actions which can be taken, or responses which can be made. 

Compare with the definitions for: issue, problem and research.

Term used in: Element 11 at Stages A1 and A2; and Elements 8 and 11 at Stages B1 and B2.

 

Range / a broad range

Meaning: The term “range” on its own is not used in the WRLs because all the activities can be understood to be carried out using skills or procedures, or drawing knowledge from a usual or acceptable range.  Where these norms are exceeded, the term “broad range” is used.

Term used in: Element 4 at Stage C2; Element 5 at Stages B2 and C1; Element 6 at Stages B2 and C2; Element 10 at Stage C2; and Element 11 at Stage C1.

 

Reconfigure

Meaning: In the WRLs, reconfiguring means changing the usual structure and use of a specialised approach to an activity to meet specific needs or procedures.

Compare with the definitions for: adapt, create, innovate, and modify

Term used in: Elements 1, 5, 6, 9, 10 and 11 at Stage C2; and Elements 5 and 6 at Stages D1 and D2.

 

Research

Meaning: In the WRLs, “research” refers to an advanced form of enquiry into a situation or issue, using an appropriate, logical or scientific approach, in order to establish and evaluate data, reach conclusions, and recommend or take action.  This includes, but is not restricted to, academic research.  In order for research to take place, a situation or issue is likely to require initial investigation to identify or clarify the research questions.  The actual research may take significant time to carry out, with the aim of producing well-founded, valid and reliable results. 

In the WRLs, the term “research” is only used at the top stages.  Systematic enquiries, which are specialised but not advanced, are referred to as “investigations”.   These may take place in an academic context.

“Problem-solving”, which is more direct and immediate, is used at lower levels.

See Element 10 “Problems and Issues”.

Term used in: Elements 4 and 10 at Stages D1 and D2.

 

Routine

Non-routine

Meaning: In the WRLs, In the WRLs, “routine” means normal in a field of activity.  It refers to activities, information and ideas, procedures and programmes, and problems which are either regularly carried out or used, or are unvarying in nature.  The ability to carry out routine activities implies previous experience, but implies more experience or capability than familiar.  Similar to standard as used in the WRLs.

“Non-routine” is used where the individual has to draw on previous experience of routine activities to determine what action is required and to adapt routine responses in order to meet to meet these requirements.

Used to describe: activities, but also information and ideas, procedures, programmes and problems. .

Compare with the definitions for: familiar and standard.

Term used in: Elements 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 at Stage B1; and Elements 6 and 7 at Stage B2.

Also: “non-routine” is used in Elements 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9 and 10 at Stage B2.

 

Select

Meaning: In the WRLs, this indicates a responsibility to make choices which does not operate at the lowest stages. The responsibility at level D is likely to go beyond selecting skills, procedures, processes or approaches towards creating new skills, procedures, etc. 

Term used in: Elements 5, 6, 7, 1o and 11 at Stages B1, B2, C1 and C2; Element 6 at Stages D1 and D2; and Element 7 at Stage D1.

 

Simple

Meaning: In the WRLs, this means something which is uncomplicated and therefore easy to understand, deal with, use, etc , even without experience.  It is used with activities, procedures and problems.

Compare with the definitions for: highly-structured (listed under structured), familiar and straightforward

Term used in: All Elements except 4 at Stage A1.

 

Skills

Meaning: See Element 5: “Skills and procedures”.

Term used in: Element 4 at Stages A1, B1 and B2; Element 5 at Stages A1, B1, B2, C1, C2, D1 and D2; and Element 6 at Stages A2 and B1.

 

Specialised

Meaning: This is mainly used in the WRLs to describe activities, skills, processes, modes, and approaches which intrinsically require technical expertise in a particular area of a field, or have been designed for a particular purpose or type of activity

“Highly specialised” is used to to describe activities, this term implies a requirement for the very top levels of expertise.

Term used to describe: activities, skills, processes, modes, approaches communication, data, knowledge, know-how and issues..

Compare with the definitions for: routine, technical and strategic.

Term used in: Elements 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10  and 11 at Stages C1 and C2; Element 7 at Stage D1; and Elements 5 and 8 at Stages D1 and D2.

Also: “highly specialised”  is used in Elements 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 and 10 at Stage D1; and Elements 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7 at Stage D2.

 

Standard

Meaning: In the WRLs, this term indicates that something is usual, common, customary or accepted in a field of activity.

Term used to describe: measures, skills and procedures, data, knowledge and know-how..

Compare with the definition for: routine

Term used in: Elements 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11 at Stages B1 and B2.

 

Straightforward

Meaning: In the WRLs, this indicates that something is uncomplicated but requires experience or capability in the field of activity. It is mainly used in the phrase “straightforward or clearly defined”.

Compare with the definitions for: basic, familiar, simple, and routine.

Term used in: Elements 1, 6, 10 and 11 at Stage B1.

 

Strategic

Meaning: In the WRLs, this is used to describe activities, aims and objectives, issues and understanding which will affect a field or organisation.  It captures what experts, specialists and managers learn from all sources and bring together into a vision of the direction in which the field or organisation should develop.

Compare with the definitions for: specialised.

Term used in: Elements 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 and 10 at Stage D1; and Elements 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8 at Stage D2.

 

Structured / highly structured

Meaning: In the WRLs, “structured” means already organised by someone other than the individual carrying out the activity or procedure

Term used to describe: activities, procedures, or contexts which may be relatively complicated but are organised in a way which makes it easy to understand, deal with, use, etc.

Also: “highly structured” activities, procedures, or contexts are organised in a way which makes them very easy to understand, deal with, etc, even without experience, skills or knowledge specific to the field of activity.

Compare with the definitions for: familiar and simple.

Term used in: Elements 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 9 at Stage A2.

Also: “highly structured” is used in the same Elements at Stage A1.

 

Supervise

Meaning: In the WRLs, this refers to supervise others (individuals or teams) is to formally instruct others and control their activities, when they have similar or lower levels of capability.  In the WRLs, the term is only used at Stage B2.

Term used in: Elements 1, 2, 8 and 9 at Stage B2.

 

Team

Meaning: In the WRLs, this indicates a relatively small number of people coming together or brought together to take on a particular academic, social or occupational task or activity which is likely to be short-term.

Compare with the definition for: group

Term used in: Elements 2 and 3 at Stages B1 and B2; and Element 4 at Stage B2.

 

Technical

Meaning: In the WRLs this describes something as being peculiar to a particular field.  The term implies experience of/in the field and the ability to draw on and apply of knowledge and know-how related to the field

Also: “Technically complex” Is used to imply that the activities, etc requires the ability to draw on an understanding of the theoretical basis of a field of activity and to use specialised knowledge and know-how in the field to carry out activities,  and to understand information , data, problems and issues.

Used to describe:  activities, skills and procedures, information, ideas, data, knowledge, know-how, problems and issues.

Compare with the definitions for: specialised and complex.

Term used in: Elements 1, 5, 8, 9 and 10 at Stages B1 and B2; Elements 6 and 7 at Stage B2, C1 and C2; and Elements 8 and 10 at Stages C1 and C2.

Also: “Technically complex” is used in Elements 8 and 10 at Stages C1 and C2.