Competency-based Training needsanalysis samples ofdynamics of learning organizations show anexecutive leadership training program, varied learning styles, andwriting good instructional objectives. But, all training, especially technical training, must be competency-based. It's the best way of organizing and managing instruction so learners achieve pre-specified criteria of performance in their areas of accountability. It also ensures learners demonstrate competence in each skill before moving on to the next skill(s).
Measurement is not the only major benefit. Competency-based training also tends to boost motivation and enthusiasm by giving the learner control over the learning within the expertly prescribed instructional sequence, framework, objectives, and process documentation. This means we can make instruction better more efficient, effective, and enjoyable with tools already available to us. In turn, this makes the whole activity more successful, more powerful, and more human. Thus, both instructional and operational productivity increating a learning and development organization can increase quite dramatically. And, continuous improvement, including innovation, can occur out of standardized work processes.
What Goes On?
In designing competency-based instruction, you use any activities, media, and processes relevant to accomplish the instruction's objectives and accommodate variouslearning styles whether implemented on the job or in the classroom. Incompetency-based training, learners have access to all available instructional resources. They study as much or as little as they need until they can achieve or surpass pre-specified objectives. Learner evaluation is based on pre-specified objectives and criteria, as was the instruction itself.
The instructor, as program manager, becomes guide, tutor, and counselor. Success-oriented, the instructor helps learners become competent in the skill being taught. Of course, while the instructor can help a learner change attitude and skill level, success may be limited if a learner has some physical, individual deficiency hindering performance. Yet, the aim of competency-based training is to use information we have about learners to provide more instruction and/or more practice, and/or more guidance and coaching to encourage competent performance.
What Does It Take?
To design competency-based training, we go through three major phases: Analysis, Design, and Implementation.
The Analysis phase helps us find out what our instruction must achieve. This includes flowcharting and process documentation. Writing good instructional objectives must include pre-specified criteria of skill performance under specified conditions. And, we must establish when objectives have been achieved. To do this, we create competency tests and/or certification checklists. These tests must match the instructional objectives. Some tools we use are job observation, examining documentation, flowcharting, and trying out the job. Of course, subject matter experts are a great help to ensure accuracy and simplicity.
The Design phase identifies instructional resources. We use existing or specially-prepared materials (including lectures, books, slides, operating procedures, and/or other media) to model skills and offer learners opportunities to practise with learning styles. We minimize “recreating the wheel” by using as much as possible what’s already available and relevant. Above all, by breaking learning up into bite-size pieces and providing practice, we ensure overall skill performance is a success!
In the Implementation phase, learners must perform as desired on a unit or module of instruction before being certified to move on. We use clear procedures and directions to help learners perform. And, we use the most appropriate delivery mechanisms to transmit informationinstructor, machine, reading, computer, or pencil-and-paper.
What Do You Get?
Specific benefits you get from the competency-based approach to training in creating a learning and development organization are:
- efficient, effective instruction which brings all qualified learners to the point where they can correctly perform all desired skills
- active/motivated learners and improved morale; in short, internal customer satisfaction
- learners taking the time they need to gain the skills they need when they need them, without impeding others
- appropriate entry points to the learning process enabling learners to learn and perform the skills they need for their jobs
- instructors who directly help individual learners, instead of inundating everyone with the same information needed or not
- savings of time and money, not only in training and design, but in more productive, enthusiastic, and versatile employees
- a new level of instructional professionalism that is state-of-the-art
In summary We cannot be satisfied with anything less! Can we?
- is skills-based and performance-oriented
- has matching objectives and tests
- is linked to pre-specified criteria
- is related to job/process documentation
- is learner-oriented
- accommodates various learning styles
- is reinforcing and motivating
- includes many opportunities to practise
- has directions, procedures, and varied relevant delivery mechanisms
- involves experts in the analysis, design, and implementation phases
- aids in creating a learning and development organization
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