Why Competency-Based Learning Achieves Better Long-Term Results

There are lots of ways to learn things. But not all learning methods are created equally. Nor do they all achieve the same results. In terms of both corporate learning, the hot trend right now is competency-based learning. In most cases, it achieves better long-term results than other learning methods.

Competency-based learning is a concept built on the two principles of retaining learned information and putting it to practical use. It is a concept that seeks to alter long-term behavior by continually reinforcing what is learned during the instruction period. With enough reinforcement, learned behaviors will continue outside learning environment.

Basics of Competency

Fulcrum Labs is a Salt Lake City company that offers an award-winning adaptive learning platform for higher education and corporate training. Their platform is also a competency-based platform that does so much more than just pass on information.

In a post published in January 2019, the company linked the idea of competency to self-instruction. The post discusses how people teach themselves to do something. When they succeed, they feel good about themselves and their accomplishment. The fact is that they successfully directed their own learning sticks with them. What they learned will never be forgotten.

Competency Creates Mastery

The Fulcrum Labs post encapsulates one of the fundamental principles of competency-based learning: competency creates mastery. By its very definition, competency suggests that a person both thoroughly understands and can apply the principles of a given topic. If you are competent in a given area, you can accomplish in that area.

Competency-based learning achieves a better long-term result by transforming students into learners. But it does not stop there. It also turns learners into masters. These are people who not only know a lot of information, but they are also capable of applying that knowledge in practical, actionable ways.

Competency Encourages More Learning

Another thing to consider is that competency-based learning encourages more learning. A learner who masters one particular topic sees the benefits of that mastery in his or her work. That further motivates the learner to master another topic, and then another, and so on.

Knowledge is an infectious thing. The more you have, the more you want. And the more knowledge you demonstrate among your peers, the more your peers are motivated to master the information themselves. The net effect is a growing body of knowledge among peers who all perform better as a result.

Competency Reinforces Self-Direction

Imagine an entire team of workers who have mastered their individual job responsibilities through a competency-based learning platform. They now work as a well-oiled machine producing peak output. Yet there is something else bubbling under the surface: a desire for self-direction.

Perhaps the most important benefit of competency-based learning is that it demonstrates to learners that they can achieve. It shows them that they can direct their own learning and still master the information at hand. Such knowledge provides the motivation for them to take more control over their own learning and productivity.

In the long term, team members who are motivated to self-direct are also motivated to take more control. They are motivated to take ownership of their own learning and productivity. A team with this kind of motivation does not have to be micromanaged. They know how to produce, and they do it well.

Higher education and corporate training come in plenty of flavors. Some learning platforms are simply an electronic version of the old ‘memorize and regurgitate’ concept. Other platforms are competency-based. They are the platforms that tend to achieve the best long-term results because they actually motivate change.