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Designing Competencies Competency Based Training in Moodle

Why Competency?

Ensuring workers can competently do a job starts with asking a few questions:

  • How can I define competencies for each job/role?
  • How can I assess individual employees’ competency levels for the job I need them to do?
  • How can I create a system to get them the training they need to do the job?

Competency-based learning (CBL) or competency-based training (CBT) focuses on enabling employees to learn concrete skills and demonstrate their ability to do something. The fact is, people want to do a good job when they come to work. Competency works both ways: employees need the support to do their jobs effectively and employers want to reduce their risk of having people at work who are performing incompetently.

Competency & Compliance

Competencies are the sets of skills in a workers journey that are learned and make compliance work on the ground. Some competency training pieces are defined to cover off meeting the rules for compliance as set out by an external body. Or, management will set parameters around how
things are meant to be done in the organization.

In order to be competent at their jobs, and for companies to be in compliance with industry regulations, workers need four basic things:

  • Knowledge of the position and expectations
  • The right training to do the job
  • An understanding of the laws and legislations pertaining to the job
  • The right behaviour that is in line with the role

Gap Analysis

Assessing learners’ competencies on an individual basis and rating them on a scale helps define knowledge gap analysis—making it easier to pinpoint those workers who are not competent in certain areas and identifying getting them the right training. Gap analysis enables managers to fine-tune workers’ training to get optimal results.

Key Benefits of Competency Training

For employers:

  • Training programs are developed with the use of gap analysis and therefore are targeted and more cost-effective
  • Establishes a framework for performance management
  • Establishes a framework for job descriptions for recruitment
  • Creates a framework for employee development and promotion
  • Improves quality of products and services

For employees:

  • Provides an analysis of skills
  • Establishes a personalized learning path
  • Creates a system to track progress

Effective competency-based training programs:

  • Evaluate learners on individual competencies
  • Evaluate competencies of learners on a scale
  • Not competent
  • Competent with supervision
  • Competent
  • Align the roles and responsibilities specific to an individual’s job

Developing a Competency Framework in Moodle

A competency framework is a basic structure that allows you to set up a system for training. This system:

  • Houses and connects trained professionals with their credentials
  • Identifies gap analysis
  • Determines the learning path
  • Produces reports

Moodle enables multiple competency frameworks to be set up which is important if you have numerous departments that require completely different skillsets. Or, maybe you want to separate out Technical and Leadership frameworks. Features supporting competency in Moodle include:

  • Multiple competency frameworks
  • Assign competencies to activities and courses
  • Learning plans
  • Assign learning plans to individual learners or cohorts
  • Scales to mark off competencies
  • Can add evidence items

Setting Up Competency Frameworks

Competencies describe the level of understanding or proficiency of a learner in certain subject-related skills. Moodle includes many new features designed to support competency-based learning (CBL) or competency-based training (CBT), which are systems of assessment and grading where learners demonstrate these competencies.

Competency frameworks are a hierarchical list of Competencies, usually defined by a standards body or central authority. Site administrators and users with the capability to manage competency frameworks at the site or category level can create, import and export a competency framework and define associated competencies.

Adding Competency Frameworks Manually

Competencies can be added by going to Competency frameworks in Site administration to create competencies in the system, or access the same link from Category administration to add them from a category. Any existing frameworks are displayed here. With a click of a button, new ones can be created.

Tips on adding competencies:

  • ID number: The ID number should be very specific, especially if there are multiple versions of a competency framework on the site at the same time, for example, when revising the framework each year.
  • Scale: The Scale is the default scale used when rating a competency. An individual competency in a framework can assign a different scale to the framework.
  • Configure scales: Clicking Configure scales displays extra information about the scale for ratings. There should be a default value, which is assigned when the competency is completed by an automated rule. The list of values that are deemed “proficient” need to be listed so that the student/learner can see at a glance which competencies they have achieved and which they have not.
  • Taxonomies: From the Taxonomies drop downs, you can define the words used to describe competencies in the framework, depending on their depth in the tree.

Adding Competencies to Frameworks

Now that you’ve created a competency framework, it will appear in your list. You can easily edit it by clicking on the name of the framework to manage the competencies under it.

Importing Competency Frameworks

Competency frameworks can be imported and exported from Moodle in CSV format. Existing frameworks in CSV format can be imported from Import competency framework in Site administration.

In Moodle 3.1, you can install this plugin to import these competency frameworks. Later versions of Moodle include this plugin by default so you can just navigate directly to Site administration > Competencies > Import competency framework. has a Competency frameworks repository for sharing files. It can be accessed directly from Competency frameworks in Site administration.

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