Competency based education focuses on the developing comprehensive knowledge, skills and student’s attitudes towards learning. When we consider ‘Competency’ in education, we talk about students’ proficiency in certain subject-related skills.
European Union defined competence as “a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the context”. Competences that students are expected to develop during the whole process of learning across specific subjects or disciplines and that they need to succeed in education and for personal development, employment and inclusion in a knowledge society.
The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training stated that “competence is not limited to cognitive elements (involving the use of theory, concepts or tacit knowledge); it also encompasses functional aspects (involving technical skills) as well as interpersonal attributes (e.g., social or organizational skills) and ethical values. (CEDEFOP 2011)
Competency based education is a journey to ensure complex outcomes of a learning process where developing inclusive knowledge of content, and core skills are primary than the completion of content. CBL is a learner-centred approach. It mainly focuses on changing global needs of students, teacher, and society.
21st century world is known as VUCA world where we witness rapid change in personal and professional life. Competency based learning prepares 21st century students to face the upcoming challenges applying specific skills suitable to the time and space.
Competency based learning creates students’ learning approach by creating appropriate activities in a suitable environment where students apply their knowledge and skills. Educator designs a set of key competencies which is usually subject bound. We create a proper system of assessment and grading in Competency Based Learning where students demonstrate their competencies.
World educators agree that “learning is the constant, and time is variable” in competency-based learning. It means that the time students take to demonstrate specifically desired competency is flexible while the expectation about learning outcomes are constant.
CBE is also known as –
- Skill -based learning,
- proficiency-based learning,
- mastery-based learning,
- outcome-based learning,
- performance-based learning,
- standards-based education,
Competency-based education focuses on: –(a) Flexibility (b) Personalization
- content mastery
- meaningful assessments,
- fast feedback,
- data driven
Benefits of competency-based learning:
- allow students to work at own pace
- allow teacher to define clear goals, attainment and completion
- allow teacher to sketch visible learning map
- allow teachers to use several modalities
- allow to use learning resources anytime, anywhere
- allow better use of technologies
- allow students to demonstrate competency
- allow space for student’s engagement and success
Precisely, competency-based learning is be self-directed and self-paced student’s centred approach. CBL mainly determines achievement of required knowledge, skills and abilities. Content is more important than time taken in completion. Competency-based learning promotes rigorous and valid measures in assessment and evaluation process to assess the students’ mastery of specific competencies as well as achieving learning objectives. Generally, teacher applies various modalities for assessment of competencies i.e., formative assessment, summative assessment, project-based assignments, portfolio or other creative works of students. The prime focus for assessment in CBL to identify student’s measurable knowledge, skills and abilities which s/he demonstrates during comprehensive evaluation system.
Students’ Report card demonstrate competencies rather than assessment of learning. In other words, report card is reflection of student’s knowledge or skill which s/he acquired and demonstrated during the course, moreover s/he knows how to use in a real-world world. Competency- based learning develops the capacity to apply skills, knowledge, or abilities to real world situation (VUCA World).
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