Planning with Key Competencies

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It is a challenge for facilitators to implement abstract competence framework into learning. One has to choose between different and sometimes also conflicting models of competency description and then describe the competency goals in a realistic and for the participants useful way.

The Framework

Competendo proposes a model that proved in different educational contexts, inspired by the competence model of the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training.

Competendo Key Competences

Abstract Competences

Task-specific Factual Competence

Identifying adequate solutions for tasks and problems on the basis of knowledge about the specific field, and how it is systematically related within its field and to other fields.

Methodological Competence

Acting consciously, adequately and in a goal-oriented way. An ability to choose methodologies and to evaluate outcomes.

(Inter)Personal competences

Social Competence

Living in relation to other people and acively shaping social relations. Reflecting different interests, needs and tensions. Team and conflict management skills.

Personal Competence

Acting autonomously, sin a selforganized and reflective way: Observing and evaluating challenges, requirements, or options. Assuming responsibility.


Describing Competences by Using Active Words

Active Words

analyze justify explain

Lazy Words

getting familiar perceive getting to know with

Lazy words are describing lazy people. Without mobilizing any energy I can perceive something or become familiar with a topic. The following table of active words might offer inspiration for replacing them:[2]

Act Apply Analyze Argue for.. Assess Assume | Categorize Check Choose Collaborate Collect Combine Compare Conceptualize Construct Connect Conclude Criticize | Discuss Distinct Decide Design Develop Diagnose | Estimate Evaluate Explain Express Experiment | Find out Formulate | Illustrate Include Interact Implement | Judge | Label List Localize | Observe Organize Outline | Plan Present | Reflect Repeat Reproduce Remember | Shape State Sketch Solve Support | Test Transfer | Understand Use | Validate Verify |

Case Study: Empowerment through a Volunteer Project

Organizing a small local project can lead to the development of skills, attitude and knowledge in the organizers and the target group. A team organized an environmental workshop for young people. The participants decided to organize a cleaning event in a nearby forest, where they and their neighbors collected garbage.

Now the team examines the chart of the key competences and tries to describe the educational impact of this project. For your organization, you could define such levels of competence development with the help of this model with greater precision.

This will help you to understand your impact as an organisation or learning provider better.

Example: Acting as an active citizen

Example: Planning skills

Topical expertise

Knowledge about:

  • concepts of civil society
  • the environment

Knowledge about:

  • personal goal setting
  • the team
  • social impact
  • time management

Methodological competence

  • Active experience with a small project
  • Experience in organizing a workshop
  • Applying goal setting models
  • Planning teamwork with task plans
  • Applying models of impact description to the project plan
  • Planning the project work by setting milestones, taking into consideration the scheduled appointments and with respect to personal life
  • Incorporating democratic decisionmaking mechanisms

Social competence

  • Collaboration in a project team
  • Collaboration with youth
  • An exchanging on individual cooperation styles, discussing different needs
  • Applying the concept to these needs
  • Assigning tasks division based on the specific qualities and needs of team members

Personal competence

  • Reflecting on one’s own leadership style.
  • Reflecting on one’s personal attitude to civic engagement.
  • ...

After: German "Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training" (BIBB): K. Hensge, B. Lorig, D. Schreiber: Kompetenzstandards in der Berufsausbildung; Abschlussbericht Forschungsprojekt 4.3.201 (JFP 2006)


  1. Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB): K. Hensge, B. Lorig, D. Schreiber: Kompetenzstandards in der Berufsausbildung; Abschlussbericht Forschungsprojekt 4.3.201 (JFP 2006)
  2. Olivia Vrabl: Schritt-für-Schritt-Anleitung zur Formulierung von Lernergebnissen (intended learning outcomes) in: Johann Haag, Josef Weißenböck, Wolfgang Gruber, Christian F. Freisleben-Teutscher (Ed.): Kompetenzorientiert Lehren und Prüfen; Basics – Modelle – Best Practices; Tagungsband zum 5. Tag der Lehre an der FH St. Pölten am 20.10. 2016; p. 15ff.

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Editor of Competendo. He writes and works on the topics: active citizenship, civil society, digital transformation, non-formal and lifelong learning, capacity building. Coordinator of European projects, in example DIGIT-AL Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Active Citizenship, DARE network.

Blogs here: Blog: Civil Resilience.


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