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Created By N. Zimmermann

Successful and relevant application of learning happens when individuals activate and apply knowledge, attitudes and skills in a specific situation. This ability can be described as competence. From a lifelong learning perspective it is a short time people spend in educational institutions. Outside of formal learning settings they continue self-development, gain new insights and shape their personalities. We might conclude, that education and qualification needs to respond to that observation and cover the broad range of experience, attitudes, book-knowledge and skills that one has and needs for his or her active and autonomously shaped life.

10 Good Reasons for Competency Based Learning

Beyond all missionary words we need to acknowledge, that competency based learning is not always easy to implement. It is often a disruptive element in the learning culture of a school, of an academy or an organization. Changes are never easy. In example, in change processes dilemmas appear between old proven and new risky ways of educating. Experience is questioned and new experience was not yet forming. That applies not only to educators or teachers, as well to learners. However, there are very good reasons able to motivate you to try it.

10 Reasons for Competency Based Learning

  • Competency based facilitation is a condition for real and authentic empowerment, because it gives learners ownership over their learning and is a cooperative social process.
  • It takes takes strengths, needs, and abilities of your learners for serious. Be more often surprised by the abilities and strengths of your learners,
  • It appreciates the diversity of perspectives and learning styles in a group as a potential to activate as a source (instead of trying to even these qualities).
  • Competency based facilitation encourages creativity, because it shapes new connections between topics, people, concepts.
  • It stimulates a sense of initiative and leads to self-efficacy, because learners experience a gain of competencies by successful applying their knowledge.
  • It's relevant, because it allows learners to apply their abilities in a lot of different social roles and situations.
  • It's more flexible, because it understands learning as a process instead of subordinating it under the regime of a too linear curriculum.
  • It allows you to focus more on social processes and communication skills, because competency learning is a social process.
  • You are more free from unrealistic learning goals or unreal assumptions regarding the needs and abilities of your learners, because mainly the learners abilities are in the focus of competency based learning.
  • Thanks to competency based learning you know better, how cooperation with different fields of education, social engagement or non-formal education increases the quality of education. Because such cooperation allows your learners to apply the learned better under real life conditions.



The focus on applicability of learning, the lifelong perspective and the positive attitude toward learners as the ones being able to co-create their learning biography, these are achievements of competency based learning concepts. A shift has taken place from traditional knowledge dissemination toward modern competency development.

Experiential Learning

What we do is the result of observation, action, and reflection. In contrast to a linear understanding of learning, this dynamic could be described as circular development. It involves referring to previous experiences as well as anticipating outcomes, and is fluid.


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A competency is more than just knowledge and skills. It involves the ability to meet complex demands.

"A com­pe­tency is more than just know­ledge and skills. It involves the ability to meet complex demands, by drawing on and mobili­zing psycho­social resources (including skills and attitudes) in a particular context."




A joint project of the Competendo Community. Implemented with financial assistance of the European Union