Competency-based learning is an approach to teaching and learning more often used in learning concrete skills than abstract learning.
It differs from other non-related approaches in that the unit of learning is extremely fine grained. Rather than a course or a module every individual learning outcome, known as a competency, is one single unit. Learners work on one competency at a time, which is likely a small component of a larger learning goal. The learner is evaluated on the individual competency, and only once they have mastered it do they move on to others. After that, higher or more complex competencies are learned to a degree of mastery.
These are some of the ways that competency based training program should be implemented.
Competencies or performance objectives define the performance in your organization. They enable you, the manager to evaluate your employees based on the performance criteria. Align these competencies directly with the organization’s performance requirements. Then, create practice opportunities in the training environment. These are assessments that will gauge the learning progress. Involve experts in this stage and have the line managers assess the learners during the training program so that improvements can be reinforced. This strategy saves time and creates a true competency-based training program.
When trainers become talking heads, holding scheduled training sessions for a pre-determined time, the instruction takes place at the trainers’ pace. For most trainees, this will be the wrong pace. Some will need to go more slowly; others will be able to move much faster. Competency-based learning shifts the role of the trainer from that of “a sage on the stage” to a guide on the side. Trainers become the mentors who redirect conversations to synthesize and transfer knowledge according to the work context of the learners. This is one of the biggest benefits of an eLearning course. Learning is more focused on the learner than the trainer.
A typical feature of competency-based training is that they are computer mediated. They could be online on a learning management system or standalone. Have the learners submit their assignments using a variety of educational technology tools. Create links to tutorials or create short tutorials that teach learners how to use a tool to develop an assignment. In short, try to re-create the real-world work environment scene through productivity-enhancing technology.
Your focus should be the learning achieved in the course and the rate of transfer to the performance context. Allow the flexibility to move through training based on the skills of your learner. This means enabling learners to tackle chapters and exercises in any order they desire. Also, have a grading scheme that measures the quality of online community submissions. If learners respond to each other’s help questions, make them leaders in their area. This gives their peers the idea of exemplary behavior and performance.