10 Steps to Implement Competency Based Learning in the Classroom

10 Steps to Implement Competency Based Learning in the Classroom

10 Steps to Implement Competency Based Learning in the Classroom

Competency based learning, as described in an earlier article, is a method of learning wherein a student uses "competencies" to proceed further in a curriculum at their own pace. This is a system of instruction, assessment, grading and academic reporting that are based on the students demonstrating facts and knowledge acquired in their progress through education. Competency based learning has indeed, provided a new course and method of teaching and education to individuals, and shares its similarities with that of mastery-learning. Defining competency based learning is complicated, and that is due to the fact that not many educators use a wide variety of terms for the general approach. In practice, competency based learning can take a wide variety of forms from state-to-state or school-to-school, giving it the flexibility it needs to incorporate a number of aspects into its fold.

As competency based learning and its methodologies come under one big roof, we've taken the liberty to list out 10 steps to help you implement Competency Based Learning in the classroom.

1. To Train or Not to Train

If the performance of a student has a noticeable dip, it might be due to a lot of factors. What can be useful in helping your students overcome any difficulty in the curriculum is to ask yourself whether a certain type of training will help fix the problem. Sometimes, teachers make mistakes in deciding the course of action to a specific problem, and that's absolutely okay! What can help you determine whether a training is your performance-oriented solution or no are the following two questions:

  • Does the performance problem stem from the students misunderstanding of a particular topic, lack of skill, or general indifference? If yes, then you ask yourself the next question.

  • Does the performance problem require Management action? That could include changing job descriptions or work requirements to align with departmental and organization needs, changing performance review criteria to better suit the competencies of the position, or tools provided to the workers.

If any of the above are selected, training might not be your go-to action.

2. Determine Job Requirements and Worker Performance

Through steps 2-5, you will be analyzing your training needs so that you stay on track. This step requires you to ask yourself:

  • Who are you targeting to receive the training?

  • What must the group or employee accomplish?

  • In what setting or under what working conditions will they perform?

  • How will training be assessed once completed and who will complete the assessment?

3. Examining Conditions in which workers apply what they have learned

What is important is that your trainees have real-life situations to apply what they have learned in training. Their best results for learning retention are those where employees have a minimum of 3 different scenarios to apply a single learned competency.

4. Familiarize Yourself With Your Workers' Backgrounds.

When it comes to competency training scenarios, you won't only benefit from the years of experience you stack up. What really matters is getting to know the trainee's background, and it takes more than an interview to figure that out. Be more probing, get to know your trainee really well, as it is the best way to discover the current level of competency for which you are seeking to improve.

5. Isolate to Analyze

Once these competencies are determined, ensure that they are applicable to positions that you wish to administer your training in. Isolating will help you in measuring performance indicators. Some experts also believe job incumbents may be better judges of this if objective performance measures are not available.

6. Compare and Contrast

It does help to compare your top performers from the rest of the group. It helps you understand what their defining performance metrics are, how they've fared through the courses you've put up, and most importantly, how you can tailor the course to be understandable and more thorough for your average Joe. Some questions that you can keep in mind are:

  • What makes top performers different from the acceptable performers?

  • What individual strengths do they use to complete work as effectively as they do?

  • Are there any differences in their knowledge base?

7. Determine Measurement Rubrics to Assess Competencies

It is wise to think about whether you want to use behavioral rubrics, or even skill tests and certifications. Another thought would be to measure work output along with the quality of work.

8. Identify Competency Objectives that can be Showcased

Here, it is important that objectives are clearly outlined in competency-based terms. For example, knowledge and performance objectives should outline the specific results that the competency training will yield and how these results will be measured.

9. Determine How Training Results will be measured.

Teaching is one thing, implementing what is being taught is another. As the point suggests, you will need to jot down ways in which you are certain that the topic being taught to your learners/employees is actually absorbed and used in their work or field of study. Also, ensure that the results showcased by them make an effect on their performance on the job.

10. Create or Procure Instructional Content Required to Teach Competency Objectives

Learning and Development Managers often outsource this step to consultants who design instructional content for this very purpose. Make sure to either rope in a person for the job, or try your hand at creating your own instructional content.

Related links:

  • Creative ways to help students advance at their own pace