Competence model for diversity-sensitive educational work with digital media.

Using a competency model, it becomes possible to make diversity-sensitive approaches usable for educational contexts.

Competence model for diversity-sensitive educational work with digital media. 

Using a competency model, it becomes possible to make diversity-sensitive approaches usable for educational contexts. Following a competence model is proposed, which consists of the dimensions

  • self-competence,
  • social-competence,
  • professional competence and
  • methodological competenceaThis model can be used for diversity-sensitive educational contexts.


With reference to Hahm, self-competence is defined as “the perception and significance of one’s diversity and the individual reflection of one’s interaction with students and their diversity” (Hahm 2015, p. 19, he quotes were translated into English by David Kergel. ). In other words, self-competence is characterized by reflections on one’s bias structure. Through this critical reflection, one’s own truth claims/beliefs/taste judgments, etc., can be bracketed. Through this, a difference-sensitive opening towards other life models and the heterogeneous lifeworlds of students, other teachers, etc., becomes possible. From the perspective of higher education didactics, the opportunity arises to become “aware of opportunities and barriers of diverse target groups” (Hahm 2015, p. 18). Via diversity-sensitive self-competence, action strategies can be developed to enable target group-oriented learning processes via “multidimensional or diversely designed learning spaces” (Hahm 2015, p. 18.). In summary, self-competence leads to a diversity-sensitive world and self-reflection that enables one to recognize the constructed dimension of social identities. The appearance of the ‘immutability’ of social categories can thus be bracketed epistemologically.


Social competence applies this form of difference-sensitive reflection to the social contexts of university teaching. This implies “that teachers must also be sensitive to group processes, their heterogeneity, and possible conflict areas” (Hahm 2015, p. 19). For university teaching, the goal orientation of such diversity-sensitive social competence lies in the “promotion of an appreciative culture of discussion and cooperative collaboration that includes all participants as far as possible and promotes communication and interaction free of dis-crimination” (Hahm 2015, p. 19.). Such an understanding of diversity-sensitive social competence is also linked to a redefinition of the role of teachers: “Teachers assist students in a mediating and advising capacity and support an appreciative peer culture that strengthens social inclusion processes and relies on and expands cooperation and conflict skills” (Hahm 2015, p. 19).

Professional Competence

Professional competence comprises diversity-related expertise. This includes a “basic understanding […] of what is meant by gender and diversity and the political impetus with which these buzzwords are associated” (Bouffier et al. 2014, p.61). This basic understanding or diversity-related expertise should be reflected regarding “one’s subject content concerning possible stereotypes or discrimination” (Hahm 2015, p. 18). In addition, professional competence includes knowledge about “(higher education) policy objectives and measures concerning diversity management, equal opportunities, and anti-discrimination” (ibid.). Professional competence can be understood as a ‘discourse knowledge in practice’ in the broadest sense.

Methodological Competence

The dimensions of competence. Develop methodological competence.

The term method can be defined here as to how teaching is designed. Self-competence, social competence and professional competence are integrated into the teaching methods. For this purpose, it is necessary to develop teaching/learning forms that make it possible to adequately meet the requirements of personal, social and professional competence. It is advisable to use participative, collaborative teaching formats in which individual restrictions are dissolved in a dialogue. Lummerding (2014), for example, advises university didactic strategies that “expand the possibilities of thinking” (cf. Lummerding 2014, p. 55). It is important not to reduce university teaching “to the transmission of given knowledge, but rather to understand it as a contingent production of knowledge […] as an open-ended and inconclusive process of negotiating a multitude of different positions and interests, to the shaping and effect of which all participants contribute decisively (Lummerding 2014, p. 48).
This can be linked to the ‘new forms of teaching’ (Bouffier 2015, p. 61), such as problem-based or research-based learning. These forms of teaching/learning rely on constructivist student participation. They are based on the assumption that students construct knowledge on their responsibility and in a self-directed, intrinsically motivated way and dialogically with each other. The collaborative, dialogical orientation of these forms of teaching makes it possible for a variety of perspectives to be taken on teaching subjects due to the diversity of the students. The resulting multi-perspectivity makes it possible to overcome limitations from an identity-specific point of view. In the dialogical exchange, these individual knowledge stocks get into motion in the sense of Lummerding, and new forms of knowledge emerge. In addition, action- and production-oriented formats such as problem-based and research-based learning offer the possibility of redeeming the “didactic claim of ’employability’ through the ‘medium of science'” (Senger 2014, p. 40) through an authentic orientation to the challenges, tasks, and problems of the students’ future working world.

Integration of digital Media

Participatory, collaborative teaching formats, in particular, can be enriched by the specificity of digital mediality. The specificity of digital mediality, i.e., the specific way digital information is produced and communicated, makes it possible for individual restrictions to dissolve in a dialogue. In other words, digital media make it possible for everyone to send information to everyone else and for everyone to respond to this information in turn. These communication partners are networked with each other in a decentralized manner. Decentralized here means that the network has no centre. At the same time, a network does not have to be closed: The Internet makes it possible for people to network with each other. Unlike books, these features of digital communication enable collaborative learning. The word “collaborative” (from the Latin word “collaborate”/ can be translated as “to work together”. Digital media can be used to work collaboratively in teaching/learning processes. In collaborative work, dialogical interaction occurs at every step of the process. As a rule, dialogical collaboration leads to high-quality work results and increases the learning experience’s quality (Kergel/Heidkamp 2015).


Against the background of these communication-theoretical considerations in educational contexts, the following key points of diversity-sensitive educational work with digital media can be identified. These points, in turn, require didactic skills and abilities, which the competence model formulates.

  • The actors should be offered occasions to (further) develop intrinsic curiosity in a social context. (Social-Competence)
  • This social context should be characterized by a dialogic communication culture and use the dialogic potential of digital media for this purpose. (Methodological competence)
  • Educators should act as meaeutic guides when dealing with digital media and enable structured openness. (Methodological competence & Professional competence)
  • The cognitive goal underlying intrinsic motivation should not be limited by media inclusions or role expectations resulting from social categories. (Methodological competence, Social competence & Professional competence)


  • Bouffier, A., Kehr, P., Lämmerhirt, M., & Leicht-Scholten, C. (2014). Spätes Erwachen an deutschen Hochschulen: Die „Entdeckung“ der Lehre und Berücksichtigung von Gender und Diversity. In C. Tomberger (Hrsg.), Gender- und Diversity-Kompetenzen in Hochschullehre und Beratung: Institutionelle, konzeptionelle und praktische Perspektiven (S. 53-68). Hildesheim: Universitätsverlag Hildesheim.
  • Hahm, E. (2015). Diversity-Kompetenz im Bereich der Hochschullehre – Ein zentraler Baustein hochschuldidaktischer Lehrkompetenz. In Greifswalder Beiträge 2/2015, 7-21. 
  • Kergel, D. & Heidkamp, B. (2015). Forschendes Lernen mit digitalen Medien. Ein Lehrbuch. #theorie #praxis #evaluation. Münster: Waxmann.
  • Lummerding (2014). Diversifizieren. Zur Interrelation der Produktion von Wissen und der Produktion von Differenz. In D. Heitzmann & U. Klein (Hrsg.), Diversity konkret gemacht. Wege zur Gestaltung von Vielfalt an Hochschulen (S. 45-60). Weinheim: Beltz/Juventa. 
  • Senger, U. (2014). Diversity-Kompetenz für die Hochschule. In C. Tomberger (Hrsg.), Gender- und Diversity-Kompetenzen in Hochschullehre und Beratung: Institutionelle, konzeptionelle und praktische Perspektiven (S. 35-53). Hildesheim: Universitätsverlag Hildesheim.