Competency-Based Learning: The Capacity To Succeed

The Logistics Institute is a professional organization; it is not an educational institution. It certifies the professional competence of SCL practitioners who earn designations.

Earning a professional designation is not the same as earning education credentials. The Logistics Institute does not grant degrees or diplomas.

Practitioners who earn designations are not graduates; they do not enroll in professional development programs as students. They are not alumni.

A certified professional is first and foremost a professional who works in a professional career practicing his/her profession. The professional designation is a public statement of competence and trust.

Certification is a competency-based learning strategy. It emphasizes training, skills and professional development [practice], and not formal education and access to information [theory].

Skills development involves the ability to apply and implement, and not just to know or know about something. The focus is on competence, not just knowledge.

Competent people have the right balance of SKA’s: Skills (ability to do the job), Knowledge (ability to know what to do), and Aptitude (ability to do it well).

Competency-based learning is capacitation, that is, developing and enhancing the capacity of individuals, and consequently, companies, sectors, and nations, to sustain and enhance competitive leadership in the world. It is the capacity to succeed.

According to the article, “5 Reasons You Need to Move to Competency-Based Education”, published by Tooling U-SME, a learning and development organization that works with the manufacturing community and educational institutions across the USA. Their goal is to build high performers who drive quality, profitability, productivity, innovation and employee satisfaction in companies. [Tooling U-SME can be found at and Twitter (]

WHY COMPETENCY-BASED LEARNING? With growing pressure to build and sustain a 21st century, real-time pipeline of qualified workers, it is necessary to re-evaluate the traditional training model. In education systems throughout the world, learning is based on classroom hours. “Students attend class, pass tests, and move on to their next course of study.” This is a time-based and “letter grade” learning model. What is missing is “validation that the necessary knowledge and skills have actually been transferred in a meaningful, actionable and measurable way.”

How do you validate and measure? For that matter, what is being measured? Did the learning process lead to improved productivity? Did quality increase? Did safety issues decrease? Did revenues climb?

These questions focus on “capacitation”, aka the capacity to succeed. It’s about innovation and growth as well as the competitiveness of the company and the entire country. It’s about “linking real knowledge and skills learning, credentials, certifications, and employment to build career-ready high-performance employees”.

#1. ACCELERATES COMPETENCY: The flexibility of competency-based learning can reduce time-to-competency and accelerate employee-to-employer readiness. It ensures consistency and cross-functionality across job roles. Based on true labour market needs [that is, emerging and ever-changing competency demands], it leads to a more nimble and more flexible workforce.

#2. ENGAGES FUTURE AND CURRENT EMPLOYEES: “Successful competency-based programs are designed with industry involvement so learning is geared to real-world expectations and needs on the job.” All Institute certification programs are founded on competency standards. Competency standards are developed with industry and practitioner input and are designed to meet current and emerging business needs in a globally competitive world. The certification programs certify what companies and business sectors need. Competency-based learning “defines and explains what average performers need to attain in order to become superior performers.”

In addition, the majority of Institute programs are delivered online 24/7. This is just-in-time learning accessible when and where needed to enhance employee contributions to the workplace and practitioner confidence as a certified professional. Competency-based learning provides “a structured, objective approach to job training and progression.”

#3. BUILDS CAPACITY: When it comes to training, there is never enough time. The competency-based model can help “buy back some of that valuable commodity.” Theory is taught via lecture by an instructor. Practice, on the other hand, is now the responsibility of the participant who is given the tools to enhance his/her SKA.

Becoming a professional is the responsibility of the individual; the individual must be committed to their own development – they must have “skin in the game”. The professional designation is earned, not awarded. Participants must work for it, and in doing so, they enhance their capability to succeed. Capacitation starts with the individual committed to his/her own success.

High-quality, industry-vetted and challenging online programs ensure consistent skills are developed [ability to do the job] and knowledge is being transferred [ability to know how to do the job]. Meeting the challenge hones participant aptitude [ability to do the job well].

#4. ENSURES VALIDATION: How do you validate an individual’s competence? How do individuals prove they are competent? How do you ensure that knowledge has been transferred, not just that a class has been completed? How do you account for increased skills and honed aptitude?

Competency-based programs not only test a new skill but also continue to build on it. New skill sets are built through cases and simulations that mirror and emulate real-life experiences: participants do not simply read about situations; they are thrown into situations and need to solve problems. As a result, participants fill their competency tool-kit with tools that can be used in the workplace. It is no longer just “learning about” how to succeed; it is “learning to” be successful.

#5. ADDRESSES THE SKILLS GAP: Competency-based learning “provides current and future employees with the skills, knowledge and abilities to be competent in the 21st century.” It supports “new collar” careers “which require employees to have technical skills along with employability (soft) skills such as critical thinking and team building”.

Competency-based learning “provides the foundation for performance management, talent acquisition and leadership development [and]… is critical for combatting the current and growing talent shortage, and for building a high-performance team.”


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