If your organization must thrive in today’s business world, something is very key. It is called competency. Gone are the days where one is employed today and would expect to remain at the same level of knowledge and competence 3, 4 or 5 years later. Such person is as good as a liability to the organization. It is no longer about going for courses and training’s everywhere, competency must be achieved otherwise organizations and industries would make losses. Little wonder the sudden drift from just traditional based learning to competency based learning.
What is competency based learning?
Competency based learning is an approach to teaching and learning the skills and abilities required to perform a given task or a job role safely, consistently and to an appropriate standard. This learning approach ensures uniform standards of operations across board, no matter who is doing it in that organization. The beauty of competency based learning is that it is learner-focused. Learners work on one competency per time, which is usually a small component of a larger learning goal. The student is evaluated on the individual competency, and only after they have mastered it do they move on to others. The competencies required of the learner will be specific tasks related to the job he or she will be expected to perform. In competency based learning, mastery is the focus!
Competency based learning centers around two key things – knowledge and skill retention. There are various competencies required of a job role and each competency has specific expected outcomes. Rather than merely fulfilling a job description, organizations have moved to developing a competency based model that enables the organization achieve their set goals. This has led organization to creating what is called a competency based model. The competency based model gives a clear quantitative evaluation of the workers ability to perform the required tasks. Before an organization starts out on the development of the competency model, they must clearly communicate their strategic goals so that the model can be developed in alignment with those goals.
Developing a competency based learning model
How do organizations develop this model for competency based learning? A team is formed consisting of HR, supervisors, subject matter experts and people with demonstrated high performance to develop this model. Together they develop a training to achieve this. It could be instructor led or self-led, online or onsite, individual or group learning. Whatever means used, it must involve the active participation of the learners as much as possible. The modules should involve as much as possible practice with actual tools, equipment or materials used in performing their jobs. Nothing beats on the job trainings!
In addition, the modules must describe the knowledge, skills and procedures to complete the tasks satisfactorily and the learner must demonstrate competency across all tasks or elements of the role to be considered competent or qualified 100%.
Ways to assess competency
- Demonstrated competency: This is used especially for physical roles involving a physical demonstration of the task in order to assess competency.
- Self-assessment: Here, learners are usually given a checklist of the parts of the competency and evaluate their ability to perform to the required standards. This would usually require on-the-job follow up.
- Supervisory feedback: Here a supervisor assesses ones competency. The supervisor must clearly understand the level of competence required so he/she can report on observed performance of the learner.
- 360 feedback: This includes demonstrated competency, self-assessment and supervisory feedback all combined, along with peer, team member and manger feedback in order to assess one’s competency
- Holistic assessment: Here the assessment is made not based on just one task that makes up a role but on overall performance on that job role as a whole.
If I may ask, how competent are you at your job role?