The Fuss about Competence Based Learning

One of the big buzzwords in the past year within the business sector, competency-based learning has become a new focus implemented at companies worldwide that want to train and manage their employee’s skill set in an effective way.  Competence Based learning is centered around the idea that blanket-training of employees is not the efficient approach to preparing employees to function well at the workplace, and that productivity is highest when competencies are defined clearly and specifically addressed and developed by trainers and educators.

The Basics of Competence-Based Learning: An Introduction

Under the umbrella of the competency-based learning approach, a job description is carefully constructed to define and isolate several skills, talents, and competencies that an employee will have to know or eventually master in order to perform their required tasks.  Resources are then strategically allocated in order to develop training modules that target very specific timelines and mastery goals, and experts are used to developing existing skills in employees without wasting energy on repeating the basic knowledge already assimilated through experience or previous training.  The most general principle of the competency-based learning approach is that the program should maximize the benefits of a limited set of training resources.

The competencies that are developed in these programs are not limited to the functions performed at the desk, but also help to develop interpersonal skills and business management talent.  This approach can help to foster talent within an existing employee base, providing workers with a healthy, yet adequately paced training challenge that helps them advance professionally and personally through their work.

How is this Learning Process Implemented?

When a company’s employment structure is already in place, especially in older companies, it is often a struggle to implement the Competence Based Learning approach at the workplace.  The process of defining all responsibilities of existing jobs may involve an outside consulting team to come and help assess the company as it currently operates, and to work closely with current employees to identify the key aspects of their positions.  In some cases, this process reveals the redundancy of existing jobs or shows a need for improvement or additional hiring where gaps currently exist.  After this, training is developed in a specific manner that shares general good practices while targeting skill sets of employees.  The Competence-Based Learning model should accommodate different levels of experience and knowledge of the individual employee, and should also offer opportunities for growth within and beyond an employee’s current position.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Competence-Based Learning

With a competency-based learning approach, there is a large structure for company growth and development.  Since training is more specialized, new skills can be mastered more quickly and can be augmented to take new employees up the company as trainers and managers themselves.  Yet as the job market continually changes, companies have to be flexible enough to take on new challenges with their existing employee base.  Without constant renovation and re-imagination of the competency-based learning structure, a company may struggle to stay current – and this constant review of job requirements and necessary skill sets can be a time-consuming a costly project for a Human Resources department at a company.  Though the trend is increasingly popular, companies today need to assess their current Human Resources operations and determine if the competency-based learning model is appropriate for the size, scope, and financial resources of their business.

Author info: This is a guest post by Lindsey Mcmahon, a part-time guest-blogger, and a full-time private tour organizer. Her main interests are education and health, but she is constantly extending her field of view to incorporate interesting news suggested to her by her readers. If interested in an online MBA, feel free to check it out at

Updated: July 19, 2018 — 10:36 am

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