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Aurora Institute

European Insights into Competency

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Chris Sturgis

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, Learn Lessons from the Field

European ConferenceI stumbled across a very helpful article Competency-based education: learning at a time of change in Proceedings of “European/national initiatives to foster competency-based teaching and learning” European Conference 2014. Although there are issues to be considered in translating our competencies to the European competences, this article summarizes a number of ideas that I think will be helpful. (See International Study in Competency Education: Postcards from Abroad for more background info.)

I’ve plucked a number of the sections below for you to look at:

  1. Attributes of competency-based learning (for the learner themselves)
  2. Attributes of competency-based teaching
  3. Considerations for writing competency-based objectives

Just keep in mind as you read this that the structure has everything linking back to the outcome — and we know that it in fact we need to keep students at the core.

1. What are the key attributes of competency-based learning?

  • Understand how one learns best (style)
  • Understand exactly what is expected outcome(s) of learning
  • Take responsibility for one’s learning
  • Motivated to learn – goal oriented
  • Ethical person and practitioner
  • Critical thinker
  • Self-assess learning and performance
  • Commitment to ongoing learning

2. What are the attributes of competency-based teaching?

  • Understanding how learners learn
  • Matching principles of learning and teaching
  • Facilitating not controlling learning
  • Modeling humility, critical thinking, respect, competency and caring at all times
  • Supporting acquisition of knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors in all learning domains (cognitive, psychomotor, affective)
  • Promote and expect learner accountability for learning
  • Provide timely, specific feedback on learner progress beginning with learner self-assessment
  • Individualize learning experiences according to needs
  • Expect increasing complexity of performance as the learner progresses throughout the program

3. What should be considered when writing competency-based objectives?

  • Objective: Is the objective related to intended outcome(s), rather than the process for achieving the outcome(s)?
  • Performance: Is the performance of the learner relevant to the learning outcome?
  • Conditions: Are the conditions, the context, of the performance relevant to the learning outcome?
  • Criteria: Are the criteria relevant to the learning outcome? Are they tangible? Are they measurable? Are they sufficient?
  • Performance: What will learners be able to do?
  • Conditions: What are the conditions under which they have to perform?
  • Criteria: How will we/they know if they perform successfully?