Competency-based education is receiving a lot of attention as we focus on the requirement for competency standards to meet the workplace requirements. In the Singapore Maritime Academy of the Singapore Polytechnic, there is considerable international pressure to implement a competency-based programme (STCW ‘78 & its Amendments in ‘95) to prepare the shipboard workforce for the competitive global economy. The paper attempts to analyse this competency or outcome-based approach in adult education with some cautionary notes on its ways of implementation, particularly, when such practices are focused on a narrow range of competencies as the course content. Additionally, it is pointed out that competency- based approach has little to offer on how learning happens and so, the paper argues that learning is best conceived as a process and not in terms of outcomes and to make this process effective an experiential approach is suggested. Learning is also seen as a process of knowledge creation through transformation of experience in both subjective and objective forms. Hence, the stress of our educational practices should be on the process of adaptation and learning and not solely on content or outcome.