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By: Sathish Rajamani. M. Sc (N)

Competency-based education has become a hot topic in higher education circles these days. it is becoming increasingly popular as the country searches for ways to improve college affordability and more accurately measure student learning.

CBE emerged in the united states in 1970 and refers to an educational movement that advocates defining educational goals in terms of precise measureable descriptions of knowledge, skills and behaviors students should possess at the end of a course of study.

Competency-based education is defined as an instructional system in which a performancebased learning process is used. The learner demonstrates his/her level of attainment on subjectarea.

Richards and Rodgers:

Competency based education focuses on outcomes of learning. CBE addresses what the learners are expected to do rather than on what they are expected to learn about.


1. They come to higher education knowing different things, and they learn at different rates.
(CBE recognizes this reality and matches the education to the student. Unlike a one-sizefits-all approach, it allows adults to come back to college and apply what they've learned, either through formal education or their work and life experience.)

2. They can move quickly through material they already know and focus on what they still need to learn. (For many, this means that they can accelerate their progress toward a degree, saving both time and money.)

What is competency-based education and what makes it different?

The most important characteristic of competency-based education is that it measures learning rather than time. Students progress by demonstrating their competence, which means they prove that they have mastered the knowledge and skills (called competencies) required for a particular course, regardless of how long it takes.

What is competency-based education and what makes it different?

While competency-based education is better for all students because it allows them to study and learn at their own pace. Students progress by demonstrating their competence, which means they prove that they have mastered the knowledge and skills (called competencies) required for a particular course, regardless of how long it takes.

PARTICIPANTS Participants knowledge and skills are assessed as they enter the program Learning should be selfpaced. Flexible training approaches including large group methods, small group activities and individual study are essential components.

BOOKS,EDUCATION A variety of support materials including print, audiovisual and simulations (models) keyed to the skills being mastered is used. Satisfactory completion of training is based on achievement of all specified competencies.

Subject material for courses in Competence Based Education is offered in 3 different modes for the registered students. 1. Downloadable Mode 2. Class Interaction Practice Mode 3. Read only Mode

Downloadable mode empowers to offer education in a dynamic form to students. Students can access lessons, assignments and submit their scripts online. They need not brood if they miss lessons - they can download their lesson notes and access archived lessons, tutorial sessions, lectures etc

Students will be able to only read the course concepts. Downloading or interaction is unavailable.


The interactive learning provides an environment for students to talk and discuss freely about any related topics on line or off line.

Two ways of interaction Classroom interaction. 1. X-CHAT 2. MAILING GROUP

Client Server Model that works with Internet Relay Chat Server Protocol. It allows servers to connect to each other effectively forming a network. Protocol is used by servers to talk to each other. Instructor and participants can talk with each other and discuss on related topic for stipulated time given by the instructor.

Participants can become member of Mailing-group by registering their names in their group. Once approved by the instructor, participants can post their questions to this group ID. This way Course instructor or any other participant can reply to questions that will be read by all the members in that group including the instructor.

Participants progress through the curriculum by demonstrating their competence in a variety of skill and knowledge areas. Student who demonstrates a competency is showing the ability "to do" something to put knowledge and principles into practice.

After completing all examinations, students are required to apply the course content in his or her work setting and submit an example of how they achieved this goal.

Participants will achieve competencies required in the performance of their jobs. Participants build confidence as they succeed in mastering specific competencies. Participants receive a transcript or list of the competencies they have achieved.


Training time is used more efficiently and effectively. More training time is devoted to working with participants individually or in small groups as opposed to presenting lectures

Sliding back into traditional teaching methods if there is not enough follow-up and training for the facilitators.


More training time is devoted to evaluating each participants ability to perform essential job skills.
If the competencies and accompanying rubrics are not carefully chosen and planned to ensure successful implementation, the curriculum will not be strong enough to support a true competency-based learning experience.

A competency-based curriculum, if done right, will enhance the skill levels of professionals in white collar jobs as well as those workers in blue collar jobs. Implemented effectively, competencybased education can improve quality and consistency, reduce costs, shorten the time required to graduate, and provide us with true measures of student learning.