Competency-Based Education (CBE) and your Learning Management System (LMS)

Competency-Based Education (CBE) and your Learning Management System (LMS)

In a Competency-Based Education and Training environment (CBE), you test users based on whether they’ve learned concrete skills (hi-task) rather than anything abstract (hi-touch). This style of learning has been around since the 1960’s, but only in the last few years has it come into the elearning field.  Ensuring your LMS can handle a training program that tests via CBE single-unit skills rather than just the whole course, will ensure that they’ve mastered individual competencies before moving on to other topics. One major factor in an LMS being able to handle courses with a CBE training program, is the use of prerequisite courses, pre-assessment testing and post-formative testing.

“A competency is more than just knowledge and skills. It involves the ability to meet complex demands, by drawing upon and mobilising[mobilizing] psychosocial resources (including skills and attitudes) in a particular context.  For example, the ability to communicate effectively is a competency…” (PISA report on CBE – 2012)

When e-learning courses on our LMS were first introduced, they usually had no testing options. The only check was that the user viewed all content in the course. In my example, working at Vantage Path, our Learning Studio LMS reported that all screens/content were viewed and marked the course as “complete”. This worked to ensure users were finishing their training, but wasn’t so able in checking to see if they have absorbed the knowledge. Next, we added testing options, because it was critical for clients who had certification (especially in the compliance fields of Safety, Transportation, Construction, and the Energy/Oil/Gas industries). They NEEDED to know that users had mastered the whole course, with a passing grade (set by the course and the LMS) minimum before they could have a “complete” course and achieve the certificate.  This worked for the majority of clients, but some did still have an issue, as the courses were often too large and the tests were getting hard to do especially after viewing 200+screens.

By enabling a CBE training environment into our LMS and course development business, we were able to offer clients testing throughout an elearning course, which was much more beneficial to the user. We also added a feature where the course saves progress to the LMS, so you can return to the last content you viewed. This approach is much more personalized and self-paced, suited for organizations and learners who need flexibility while saving on costs of a compliance program that is consumed by users in small learning “chunks”.

Chunking the LMS course with a CBE training environment method, enables the following benefits:

  • Defines what a user should be able to do and know after the course/program is complete – the practical applications of the learning/training
  • For larger compliance programs (for example, our Gas Processing course bundle), each course within a bundle can be taken separately, making it both cheaper and more effective to train.
  • Speeds up the time to completion of a qualification program, by enabling pre-requisites and prior training recognized within the program.
  • Focuses on course sections that meet immediate organizational and personal needs and are less expensive to build individual sections.
  • Users can progress quickly through the content in small pieces rather than remembering a large whole – with credit derived for each section of learning – and testing smaller chunks of content
  • Course objectives are broken up into smaller sub-goals, keeping the training materials as zoomed-in activities and challenges that are specific and exact.
  • Tieing in assessment and review questions to each activity, helps users know the training content associated with each sub-goal.
  • Chunked LMS courses can be separated into learning methodologies – Text sections, Audio sections, Video sections, and Interactivity sections.
  • Delivery of content is much more personalized
  • Pace is variable based on the user
  • More users are set to succeed by mastering ALL concepts, one-at-a-time

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