This presentation defines competencies and competency-based curricula (CBC), describes the benefits of CBC, and details seven steps to developing CBC. Meant for educators and managers, it covers: identifying and defining competencies, establishing rubrics for performance, outlining and practicing learning methods, assessing performance, and evaluating, refining, and repeating the process.
How to build COMPETENCY-
BASED Curricula in
A collection of trainable
• talent, and
combined to do jobs,
complete tasks, perform roles,
and/or reach objectives
Competencies may or may
NOT include values, morals,
ethics, beliefs, attributes, qualities,
or other more personal characteristics
CBC or Competency-Based
A sequence of learning
experiences that effectively
develop critical and core
to meet the goals and/or
wishes of a sponsoring
organization or institution
Curricula may or
may NOT include
and graduation requirements
• Fits best with learning
performance and not time
spent studying (credit hours)
• Targeted to learning (only what
you need and when you need it)
• Learning is individually planned,
contracted & pursued/practiced
with personalized frameworks
in flexible schedules / times
• Addresses key goals
of the CBC sponsoring
organization or institution
• Motivation from instant merits
• Recognizes / rewards prior learning
(assess what you already hold and
concentrate on mastering new)
• Provides clear path to progress
& accountability for learner & sponsor
• Great for mature self-paced learners
who can learn independently of teachers
Do-It-Yourself: Not a Panacea!
Not suited to all learning
processes or disciplines
To improve the
CBC, make the
on the run, and
cycle after each
use or iteration
the past; look at
what is needed
now and what
will be required
in the far future
EXAMPLE: 10 Managerial
Using a wide variety of sources for information
and techniques to collect it, identify the general
competency areas. Managers are expected to be
competent at valuing, thinking, communicating,
managing, leading, changing, facilitating, and
developing teams, others, and oneself.
Multiple SOURCES: job descriptions, high
performing employees, their supervisors,
dissatisfied employers, subject matter experts,
existing key performance indicators, online
blogs, textbooks, articles, and other resources
Multiple TECHNIQUES: free conversation,
structured interview, focus group, survey,
delphi consensus, reading, and observation
Outcome: ROAD MAP of 8-12 competency areas
Research Example in Public DomainBLUErepresentstheoriginal56competencies(1996)
EXAMPLE: one competency
from Communicating area…
…with sample definition for
the specific competency of
PUBLIC SPEAKING: the act
of performing an organized
presentation to motivate,
entertain, educate, and/or
influence a live audience
Outcome: DICTIONARY of 5-15 competencies/area.…100 competencies; 10 areas
Again, using multiple techniques to access
multiple sources, define specific competencies
within each general area. Exercise accuracy in
generating these definitions, since building more
precise descriptions will make next steps easier.
To fully define a competency, reflect on the depth
and breadth of its composing elements. For the
public speaking example, consider DELIVERY
(voice, body language & artifacts) and CONTENT
(organization, persuasion, language, supporting
materials, slides & general) as in the next sample.
Include both the HOW & WHY of the definition.
HOW: performance of the competency (speaking)
WHY: reason / end result (to persuade audience).
Sample content source used to define
Exceptionally thorough & detailed
list of PUBLIC SPEAKING elements
from an excellent rubric generator
EXAMPLE: Public Speaking
given this definition, criteria
must cover “performing,”
“organized” and “motivate,
entertain, educate, and/or
influence” as well as key
elements of delivery, body
language, content, etc.
Excellent High Expert
Good Above Av. Master
Poor Average Proficient
Bad Below Av. Intermediate
NoviceOutcome: RUBRIC with 4-6 levels/competency...…….…TERMS
For each competency, create the standards by
which competence will be measured. Describe
several levels of possible performance that
hallmark positive and negative competence.
Label these levels with your choice of terms.
3 each = all 3 components clear; within time limit; exceptionally organized
content captures attention; does not rely on notes; movements
enhance demonstration; voice inflection keeps audience engaged
2 each = 2 out of 3 content components clear; just in time; well organized;
uses notes for direction and guidance only; gestures useful for
articulation; voice projects well with audience paying attention
1 each = 1 out of 3 content clear; past time limit; adequately organized;
relies on notes frequently; very little movement or gestures; voice
shows limited inflection with audience distracted
0 each = 0 out of 3 clear; well outside time limit; disorganized; reads notes
aloud, no movement or gestures; voice is monotone with audience
disengaged and bored
EXAMPLE: Public Speaking
Toastmasters, debate club,
formal course, online video,
PODcast audio, free MOOCs,
reading advice column/blog,
professional coaching, and
other free oratory groups
Outcome: LIST of 5+ methods/competency………..…Learner chooses method
Once more, using your imagination and multiple
techniques to access multiple sources, generate
a list of acceptable learning methods: how many
different ways could the competence be learned?
Using your imagination should be like a brain-
storming exercise, where ideas are accepted
without evaluation. Record everything and let
the learners decide what works best for them.
Be open to learner suggested learning methods.
Avoid imposing your own preferences on them.
Ineffective methods will either not be selected
by learners or will be removed in the next step.
EXAMPLE: Written Contract
“I am going to learn
competency using method
from source in location by
date because reason”
(substitute for underlined words)
Outcome: REVISED LIST of methods that work........Learner gaining competence
When learners are ready to gain new competence,
they strike a contract with the CBC sponsoring
organization or institution through its delegate.
The contract can be very simple (see opposite) or
complex as decided by CBC sponsor or delegate.
Learners practice to acquire their competencies
and give feedback on the merits of each method.
On the basis of this feedback, revise the list and
rank order the methods from those most likely to
those least likely to elicit learning a competency.
Obviously, those methods that are not working
will become apparent when learners are either
not ready to be assessed or are found deficient.
EXAMPLE: 100 Managerial
Competencies in 10 areas
Outcome: Assessment SCORE value/competency..……100 scores; 10 averages
Passport Matrix = Pass or Fail
Scorecard = Percentages or Grades
When learners are fully ready to demonstrate a
particular competency, they will arrange to
perform it for a final assessment. In the public
speaking example, they would present a speech.
Assess competence performance by measuring
with the earlier RUBRIC. To prevent the error of
a single observer, use multiple assessors (peers,
guest experts, etc.) and average their scores.
Determine whether an averaged score is good
enough to consider that competency attained.
Choose to record final assessment scores as
either pass/fail (by stamping a passport matrix)
or percentage/grades (by using the raw scores).
EXAMPLE: once the
“program” was launched
in 1997, the 56 original
were expanded to 100
(and areas grew from 8 to
10, with one area split in two
and another new area added)
Yearly changes continued
over the next two decades
Outcome: IMPROVEMENTS to the curriculum…….…Continue with the CBC….
Experience is a great teacher. As a curriculum
gets used and learners begin to develop their
competence in various areas, lots of changes
will be likely. Evaluate a curriculum’s efficacy
to deliver competence, refine it to better meet
goals and wishes as required, and then repeat
the 7 steps to ensure ongoing effectiveness.
REFINEMENT: two or more competencies may
be combined into one, while another competency
might be divided into several others. The same
may be necessary for competency areas as some
competencies will shift from one area to another.
KEEP A FUTURE FOCUS and review the currency
of your CBC due to changes on an annual basis.