Training and development play a critical role in important business outcomes like employee retention, professional development, and hiring processes like on-boarding. However, training and development is also a vital piece of workplace culture and employee engagement.
Competency based training (CBT) is a style of education that focuses on what you can achieve in the workplace after completing a course, or because of your workplace training and experience.
Competency Based Training is training that is designed to allow a learner to demonstrate their ability to do something.
Competency-based training is designed to capture these changes by:
- Building an education and training system delivering competencies in accordance with nationally recognised standards.
- Developing a demand-driven curriculum to produce a workforce with the relevant skills and competencies demanded by the industry.
- Creating an education and training system with multiple entry/exit points and with flexible delivery options to create a culture of lifelong learning.
- Building a system capable of recognising skills and competencies wherever and however they are obtained.
- Developing mutually recognised graduate capabilities through increased consultation and collaboration with industry.
Characteristics of Competency Based Training
In addition to a set of competencies, other characteristics which are associated with Competency-Based Training Programs are summarised as follow:
Competencies are carefully selected
- Detailed training materials are keyed to the competencies to be achieved and are designed to support the acquisition of knowledge and skills.
- Supporting theory is integrated with skill practice. Essential knowledge is learned to support the performance of skills.
- Methods of instruction involve mastery learning, the premise that all participants can master the required knowledge or skill, provided sufficient time and appropriate training methods are used.
- Learning should be self-paced.
- Participants’ knowledge and skills are assessed as they enter the program and those with satisfactory knowledge and skills may bypass training or competencies already attained.
- Flexible training approaches including large group methods, small group activities and individual study are essential components.
- Satisfactory completion of training is based on the achievement of all specified competencies.
- A variety of support materials including print, audiovisual and simulations (models) keyed to the skills being mastered is used.
Essential elements of a Competency Based Training system:
- Criteria to be used in assessing achievement and the conditions under which achievement will be assessed are explicitly stated and made public in advance.
- Competencies to be achieved are carefully identified, verified and made public in advance.
- The instructional program provides for the individual development and evaluation of each of the competencies specified.
- Assessment of competency takes the participant’s knowledge and attitudes into account but requires the actual performance of the competency as the primary source of evidence.
- Participants progress through the instructional program at their own rate by demonstrating the attainment of the specified competencies
Need your entire team trained on a specific skill, but don’t have the time for the group to meet, altogether, at once? Modules are self-paced and user-managed meaning they’re adaptable for your team to take, train, and develop skills at their own pace.
Have you ever met someone that’s incredibly talented at taking tests? Or someone who is capable of reading and comprehending text much faster than their peers? Everyone learns in their own unique way, so segmenting your training this way will cater to the individual learning styles of your team.
Competency-based modules are broken down by specific skills to deliver training in shorter, and more manageable doses. This frees up time your team would have spent taking the larger, more time-consuming training program.
In other words, employees can complete training modules on their own time, or the training schedule you create with them. The key takeaway here is that the schedule is in your own control. Modules are ready to be completed however you set out to accomplish them.
Get training on the specific skills you need, when you need them. Some larger or bundled training and development programs can be costly as they typically don’t allow you to segment the specific skills training you need. That’s where the competitive value of competency-based training comes into the fold.
Depending on your training needs, module-based training sessions can be much more cost-efficient. The best part? These microlearning training sessions save you money while still offering all the training and development benefits your organization needs (while also cutting out the training segments you don’t).
Modify your training programs and modules to suit your interests, skills, and development needs. Remember how we talked about how individuals have their own unique learning styles? The same concept can be applied to training and development. Some people are naturally more talented at specific skills than others, and that goes for how people learn new skills, too.
With competency-based training, you can customize how your team tackles training by catering your programs to meet their individual needs. Pair the training with each individual employee’s personality assessment in order to create a more effective and targeted development program.
Limitations of Competency Based Training
- While there are a number of advantages of competency-based training, there also are some potential limitations. Prior to implementing CBT, it is important to consider these limitations:
- A CBT course is only as effective as the process used to identify the competencies. When little or no attention is given to identification of the essential job skills, then the resulting training course is likely to be ineffective.
- Unless initial training and follow up assistance is provided for the trainers, there is a tendency to “teach as we were taught” and CBT trainers quickly slip back into the role of the traditional teacher.
- A course may be classified as competency-based, but unless specific CBT materials and training approaches (e.g., learning guides, checklists and coaching) are designed to be used as part of a CBT approach, it is unlikely that the resulting course will be truly competency-based.
Approaches to Competency Based Training
- Quality of performance is built into the training process.
- Development of competencies (knowledge, attitude and practice) is based on national standards.
- Emphasis of the training is on development of qualified providers, not on the number of clinicians undergoing training.
- Training builds competency and confidence because participants know what level of performance is expected, how knowledge and skills will be evaluated, that progression through training is self-paced, and that there are opportunities for practice until mastery is achieved.