Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Competency-based Education & Training: Our Legacy and Contribution to International Development

By: Ted Glenn, Ph.D., Professor of Public Administration and Program Coordinator at The Business School, Humber College

This is the third blog post that Ted Glenn has written as part of his experience living in Makassar, Sulawesi province, Indonesia, while working on the Sulawesi Economic Development Strategy Project (SEDS). 

One of the things that sets Humber apart as a postsecondary learning institution is our legacy of competency-based education and training (CBET).  That legacy has allowed us to make meaningful contributions building the capacity of competency-focused organizations world-wide over the past 35 years – and continues to drive our contribution here in Indonesia on Phase Three of the 5-year SEDS project.


For me, the heart of competency-based education and training is its distinct focused learning topics, specific learning activities, and clearly-defined standards of expected performance that are based on and reflect best practices in industry and cutting-edge research.

Workshops with participants

A good part of our time in the Makassar-based workshops thus far – at #UNHAS, #UNISMUH and #UNM – has focused on getting participants to make explicit what exactly they want entrepreneurship students to be able to learn in their classrooms and how exactly they want to measure their learning performance.  From a technical point of view, the issue is about clarifying learning outcomes – clarifying the topic areas that we expect students to learn about, the action or what we want students to do in the topic area, and the performance standard that defines what students need to be able to do in order to demonstrate successful completion of learning within the topic area. This focus on specifics extends throughout the workshops, pushing participants to ensure that learning outcomes are embedded throughout the entrepreneurship curriculum – in delivery techniques, assessment and evaluation tactics, and lesson plans, for example.


Workshops in groups

Designing competency-based curricula is a difficult task, as participants in the Makassar workshops are finding out. They are also developing an awareness, though, that the rewards of designing and implementing good, competency-based curricula are students who are more engaged in the learning process and graduates who are much better prepared to enter the world of work.

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