Key Characteristics of Competency Based Learning

The foundation of students for higher education helps in determining various learning outcomes becoming developing conceptual framework and a vocabulary. The assessment of students mainly focuses on various specifications based on what student knows, think and could do, as the unit of measurement and assessment differs for each and every student. The outcome analysis targets on the program but other focuses on the learner for the purpose of measurement. It occurs across various courses within the learning unit. However, it requires that each of the learners can be assessed for the performance based on each competency.


The assessment process is considered as most important for competency based learning because the instructors and the learners can track the performance on the basis of competency with the study progress. Or in other words, the assessment of CBE is very specific and granual when compared with the course that is non-CBE. The approach of the teachers defines the competencies as a statement of nature by describing the concern of the skills, knowledge and ability required by them. With particular topics and content, competencies are directly aligned with the proper assessment. These assessable topics are known as sub-competencies that consider different learners so that they could understand easily that what they could master and at what level.


The perspective of different programs, faculty and instructional designs make use of the program competencies and sub-competencies that are defined with the alignment of existing assessments by creating them for making perfect sense of content presentation and learning portals. All this work should be done before the building and designing of courses or different learning units. The main reason behind this is the program framework before the content creation that should not overlap the assessments and curriculum by avoiding the complaints of the students that they are covering the same material with different courses within a single program. In the preparation of learning unit delivery, the placement of completed framework is considered as the last step.


Assessment requires three major forms in the programs like CBE. The old concept of judgment and assessment have been changed completely from midterm exams, quizzes and final exams to assessment system which aims at helping learners for the construction of knowledge through a learn practice that can be assessed in different pathways.


Students are engaged with the content presented in a process of learning by considering formative assessment for building of skills and knowledge that further allows preparing for summative assessment. In most of the programs, more than one attempt in the summative assessment allows the learners to master and re-arrange the content. Some of the learning units particularly learners have mastered their workplace with formal learning that are designed for the demonstration of beginning of learning unit so that the learner could also demonstrate the mastery and the quick movement of the immediate and next learning unit.


Now it is important to carefully design the work across various future and initial programs. There are many decisions that are important to make and implement. CBE is the platform through which student can thought about the assessment. The concept of competency based learning requires different academic and faculty leaders that allow an individual to focus on different learning outcomes.


The curriculum of education is completely based on different areas of content that is structured by courses, terms and credit hours with which the learning outcomes of the students varies and create the dependency on the amount of learning that can be generated in a specific period of time. A person can rethink about their educational strategies due to which learners can focus on the end goals and backward designs by making them success in mastering and increasing expertise for the competencies.


This shift can be accomplished in various perspectives. Competency based educational models, policies, practices and trends can be analyzed through the independent research with various education council. A research has been conducted with which different competency based educational programs could take different approaches by sharing common characteristics that are learner centric, differentiated and outcome-based.


These characteristic will helps the learner in understanding competency based education to make it in practice. The competency based educational programs consider effective designs that started with well-defined and various types of learning outcomes. It helps in continuing the analysis based on the method of scaffold learning activities so that better outcomes could be achieved. It also helps in aligning various competencies to the assessments of the content by considering rubrics and other resources by analyzing the tracking of performance.


Academic leaders and faculty designers consider the development of powerful set of learning competencies and outcomes, reorientation of curricular designs by starting various learning outcomes without considering term and time structures, building high quality sharable assessments, resources and rubrics that are designed to provide support to different learning outcomes, fostering authentic assessment that basically includes the demonstration of mastering competencies, effective identification of risk in the progress of the students towards various learning achievements by providing appropriate interventions, supporting transparent analysis of various outcomes of learning for students at each and every level of institution and achievement of long-term and short-term academic performances and their improvements by increasing the focus on innovative outcomes rather than considering any type of inputs.


Under mentioned are certain examples which helps in the demonstration of competency based learning and its outcome based practices.

1. Powerful and integrated set of competencies and goals – The competency based learning does not happen in continuation. At most of the educational institution, the program, curriculum and credential structure has been embedded that requires different definition of goals. For instance, the backward design of some of the educational programs consider not only the outcomes of the students but also the outcomes of the programs, institution and accreditation standards. The competency based education of some communities helps in the development of various definitions by defining different types of goals.


a. Accreditation standards – They are used mostly by the programs and the institutions for the evaluation of effectiveness, quality and foster improvement. The voluntary system of self-regulation considers accreditations that are carries by the program or an institution. It can be exceeded or meet by the set of accreditation standards. Almost all the accrediting agencies are non-governmental that requires approval with the combination of professional, regional and trade-based accrediting agencies.


b. Institutional outcomes – They are known as measurable and observable statements that expect and deliver to see the graduates in the institution. They reflect the delivery and designs of the curriculum and co-curriculum for the degree programs of the institutions, guiding the mission, various activities of the institution and providing framework for the evaluation and improvement of the institutions. Competency based educational programs are designed especially for aligning and supporting overall goals of the institution.


c. Program outcomes – This program is exactly similar with the various institutional outcomes by defining different level of particular academic programs. With this, they describe what exactly student knows, think and have the ability to do by determining the result of their experience in the particular programs. Program outcomes are determined by institutional outcomes that further helps in providing support to the accreditation standards. The programs based on competency based education are designed especially to meet the goals of different academic programs.


d. Student learning outcomes – They are also known as measurable and observable statements that also determine the knowledge, thought and ability of a student by generating the results of educational experiences. The outcomes generated by students learning work at the same level of competencies and in some cases it is interchangeable.


Note - A competency is known as the specific skill, knowledge, or ability that are both measurable and observable.

2. Occupational skills – They are considered as the abilities, skills and knowledge that require the job performance. The effective management of goals takes some interrelationships into account by analyzing the need and measurable performance at various different levels of the institutions. In the same framework, the blackboard provides the infrastructure of the state-of-the-art by managing various competencies and set of goals.


They are associated with each other so that the design of the competency based programs could support the performance evaluation against the institutional, program and accreditation goals. The clear alignment between accreditation goals, program and institutions is important and must to have. The competency based programs include substantive changes that are required for the approval by an accrediting agency.


3. Authentic assessments aligned with different competencies – Authentic assessment helps in the evaluation of real-world competencies that have the ability to perform in complex scenarios by making competency based learning as meaningful. For instance, a team of professional requires the analysis of business that impacts the shifting of population with real problem solving skills along with the assessment that helps in embedding work context.


These assessments require the proper and accurate demonstration of various competencies when compared with the objective assessment that can be delivered with the pre-determined answers that can be right or wrong.


The authentic assessment also helps in providing various benefits that are learner-centric that includes collaboration with the genuine valuable proof and evidence of learning and can be used in a professional profile. It is delivered in the context of strong and powerful competency set by allowing academic leaders, faculties and students to have various transparent insights of the relationship between competency expertise and various other broader goals.


With blackboard, it is very easy to align the competencies and other goals to assessments, learning materials and rubrics with powerful analytics for the purpose of tracking performance. For instance, the assessment could be aligned to various competencies, program outcomes and occupational skills and accreditation standards.


This assessment can achieve the mastery by showing the occupational skills to the students along with demonstrating the collection of evidence for the program improvement and accreditation purposes. Each of the competency and the goals are aligned with the assessment by exhibiting students who need help to understand the occupational skills and competencies without showing accreditation standards.


4. Rubrics for transparent evaluation and consistency – The complexities of authentic assessments and rich call have well-defined frameworks that help in the performance evaluation. Rubrics are aligned for the given competencies that can be used easily with a powerful structure for the assessors and faculty that can be evaluated for the consistent work of students along with providing individualized feedback.


The consistent or regular use allows the learner to make their choices so that they can work on different assessments for mastering same competencies but the evaluation of performance make use of same rubrics that defines the expertise criteria.


The competency based educational programs helps in differentiating various instructional roles like the faculty subject matter experts does not allow the evaluation of assessments with specialized assessors so that it can applied to the similar definitions of the competencies by making use of the same rubrics.


It is not only used for evaluating learning outcomes instead it helps in gathering various evidences for performing third-party evaluation of the effectiveness of programs. Over time analysis of the competency based educational programs helps in generating insights into the method of programs that should be improved continuously for meeting the needs of the learners.