6 Benefits Of Competency-Based Learning In Education

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Competency-based learning in education is becoming popular day by day. Studies show that up to 82% of educational institutions have already adopted a competency-based learning model1 or are in the process of adopting it.

What makes competency-based education so important? From enhancing the learning experience to preparing the learners to tackle the job market, competency-based learning can bring incredible benefits to your institution. This article will take a look at these benefits while exploring what competency-based learning is and why your institution should adopt it.

What Is Competency-Based Learning?

Competency-based learning is an educational method that places greater emphasis on skill development over memorisation. The ultimate goal of this model is to help your learners master a particular skill set. This is done through a competency-based assessment of the learner, where they will be tested on their mastery of the skill rather than their knowledge.

Competency-based learning and assessment is learner-centric, as opposed to being knowledge-centric like traditional education methods. However, that is not the only difference between competency-based learning and traditional education.

Competency-Based Learning vs Traditional Education

1. Structure

Traditional education takes the form of fixed curriculum courses with a predetermined duration. Failure to complete the course mostly leads to the learner having to repeat the entire course.

Competency-based learning and assessment differ from this in that the course can only be completed upon the mastery of a skill. There is no fixed duration for the course, allowing the learners to complete the curriculum at their own pace.

2. Learning Outcome

A competency-based learning model places emphasis on skill development. Therefore, the learning outcome is based on the mastery of a skill and its practical application. This is evaluated using competency-based assessment tests.

This is different from traditional education, where the learning outcome is centred on the comprehension of the subject material and evaluated using end-of-the-term examinations.

3. Grading

In traditional education models, the learners are graded based on their test scores, assignments and behaviour. This is opposed to competency-based learning models, where the learners are graded based on their competency in the practical application of a skill.

These differences do not mean that competency-based learning is better than traditional education or that it is a replacement for it. It just means that competency-based learning is suited to specific applications and brings unique benefits to the learners. These benefits enable your institution to provide your learners with an enhanced learning experience.

Here are 6 benefits a competency-based learning model can provide your learners. Take a look and see how they can help your institution enhance your learning programs.

6 Benefits Of Competency-Based Learning

1. Supports Personalised Learning

In competency-based education, the learners have the ability to pursue the course at their own pace. They are able to concentrate on areas where they need improvement and skip areas they have mastered. This enables your institution to provide a personalised learning experience to your learners.

Using a Learning Management System can help your institution simplify this process. For a more personalised approach, your institution can also implement digital badges. Digital badges can easily be shared on social media and help learners track their progress and showcase their achievements.

2. Increases Learner Engagement

Competency-based assessment is reliant on learners demonstrating their proficiency in a particular skill. This creates an environment with a high level of learner engagement. This is an incredible benefit for both your learners and your institution, as a higher engagement leads to a more successful learning experience. As studies have shown, more than 92% of educators believe that learner engagement is the key driver of success2.

3. Enhances Learning Experience

One of the key defining factors of competency-based learning is how the learners are evaluated. By emphasising the mastery of skills and competencies, competency-based learning requires the educator to assess the learner thoroughly. This leads to the learner receiving instant feedback and evaluations, enabling them to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Your institution can further enhance competency-based learning programs by incorporating gamification. By giving out points or digital badges for each skill learnt, your institution can drive friendly competition among your learners.

4. Provides Career-Focused Learning

The greatest hallmark of success for an educational institution is its learners succeeding in the career of their choice. This is one of the reasons why competency-based learning is so important. It enables learners to learn skills and competencies that are necessary for specific careers. This will allow your learners to spend their resources on specific skills that will enable them to progress in the career of their choice.

Therefore, by adopting competency-based learning, your institution can better prepare your learners for the future.

5. Enables Flexible Learning Pathways

In traditional education, your learners will have to complete an entire course to gain competency in a subject. However, with competency-based learning, your institution can allow learners to pick and choose the skills and knowledge they want.

This can be further supported by introducing micro-credentials. Micro-credentials will enable your learners to gain certifications for each skill or competency they have mastered. As opposed to gaining a single certificate for the completion of a course, this is more efficient.

6. Fosters Inclusivity And Accessibility

Education is a resource-intensive venture. From time to effort and money, education has many barriers. However, with competency-based education, learners can opt to spend their resources on learning only the skills they need. This will enable more learners to pursue education, making the learning experience more accessible.

By adopting competency-based learning and assessment, your institution can take a valuable step towards a more inclusive environment.

Competency-based learning and assessment is an incredible tool to enhance your learners. By enabling them to focus on the skills they need and learn at their own pace, it can personalise the learning experience. And by being flexible and accessible, it can foster a sense of inclusivity.

Overall, competency-based learning is very beneficial to your learners, and it is here to stay. As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, adopting competency-based learning can help your institution prepare your learners for the future.

Competency-Based Learning With Digital Badges

Competency-based learning in education is a field with incredible growth. And with growth comes innovative solutions. One of these innovative solutions is the use of digital badges to complement competency-based learning.

Digital badges will help your institution enhance its competency-based learning programs in many ways. For example, it can help your institution implement micro-credentialing, helping your learners receive certifications for each skill they learn. It can also help your institution incorporate gamification concepts like a reward system.

There are many more ways your institution can benefit by incorporating digital badges. As the world moves on to the future, using innovative ways to enhance your learning programs will benefit not just your institution but also your learners.

Need more ways to enhance your learners? Book a demo with CredSure to learn how digital credentials can help your institution.


  1. American Institute of Research
  2. Instructure