How to design competency-based training and assessment

Unpacking a unit of competency is like solving a puzzle

Units of competency are often ambiguous. When we first read them they can be vague. Performance criteria lack content. Foundation skills may be absent or written in a way that makes no sense. The connection between performance and required knowledge is not provided.

It is important for us to understand or ‘unpack’ units of competency because they are the building blocks for Australia’s competency-based training system. Reading, interpreting and contextualising units of competency is our starting point for designing competency-based training and assessment.

In the beginning the unit of competency is ambiguous or vague. It is like looking at a colourless Rubik’s cube. By reading, interpreting and contextualising the unit of competency we begin to understand more about what competency looks like. Now it is like having an unsolved Rubik’s cube. Often, we still have to work at analysing, deconstructing and reconstructing the unit of competency so that we can clearly explain it to our learners. This moment is like having solved the Rubik’s cube.

What do we need to do after we have ‘unpacked’ the unit of competency? And what are the next steps to designing competency-based training and competency-based assessment?

How to design competency-based training

I have developed a 7-step process to describe how I design competency-based training.

How to design competency-based assessment

I have developed a 7-step process to describe how I design competency-based assessment.

What comes first?

Do we design and develop the training first? Or do we design and develop the assessment first?

I always design and develop the assessment before the training. The training program becomes the pathway to the assessment. Assessment is the destination and we need to know that first.

Do you want more details about my two 7-step approaches?

On Tuesday 2nd of August 2022, I will be delivering a 3-hour webinar about designing competency-based training and assessment for the VET Development Centre (VDC). Come along if you want to hear more details about my two 7-step approaches.

The cost is only $110.

Go to the VDC website for more information or to register.

Author: Alan Maguire

35+ years experience as a trainer, instructional designer, quality manager, project manager, program manager, RTO auditor, RTO manager and VET adviser.

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