About Competencies

Competencies help track information about the knowledge, skills and abilities learners acquire as they participate in courses or other learning experiences. Competencies are an inventory of skills and knowledge, rather than measures of how good learners are at something. Other vocabulary used to describe competencies can include "proficiencies", "learning outcomes", "standards", "objectives", and "skills". Examples of competencies can include:

The types of competencies you create and track depend on your institution and what you ultimately want to do with the information.

Use the Competencies tool to create competency structures to help you assess users' learning outcomes and determine if they have acquired the intended knowledge, skills, and abilities from a learning experience. The transparency and accountability of competency structures have an advantage over traditional grading mechanisms, because they do not mask gaps in learning with general, overall grade averages.

Competency structure

A competency structure is a hierarchy composed of three basic elements:

Although you can create multiple activities, learning objectives, and competencies within a competency structure, the most fundamental structure must contain at least one competency, one learning objective, and one activity.

Note  If you share a competency structure with a child org unit, the child org unit must associate its own activities since activities cannot be shared between org units.

Learning objectives

Learning objectives are the skills, abilities, or knowledge a person must acquire to become competent in a given domain. Create learning objective statements that are directly measurable through related activities. Other vocabulary used to describe learning objectives can include "indicators", "criteria", "requirements", and "learning outcomes".


Note  Starting with Learning Environment 9.2, you no longer create activities in the Competencies tool. Instead, you add associations between learning objectives and activities created within the course.

Activities are the only elements that can be graded in a competency structure. You can use existing tools in Learning Environment to create activities, and you can create external activities such as a concert performance or an oral presentation (these are manual assessment activities).

You can associate activities with relevant learning objectives, and have users complete them so you can evaluate their learning objective achievements. Activities include quizzes, surveys, dropbox folders, discussion topics, grade items, manual assessments, and content.

You can add measurable criteria to the activity and set the assessment method as a requirement to completing the learning objective. If a user's activity assessment meets the minimum required threshold set for that activity (e.g. minimum rubric level score, minimum numeric score), then the user achieves or is on the path to achieving the associated learning objective.

Competency structures inside and beyond your course

If you create a competency structure as part of a course offering, it is accessible only within that course offering. For example, you can create a competency to represent the entire course, learning objectives to represent specific units, and associate activities to each unit.

You can create competency structures inside org units such as departments, semesters, and the organization to track users’ achievements beyond a course offering. You can also share these competency structures with multiple course offerings and evaluate the competencies and learning objectives within specific child org units. This enables users to complete the competency in stages over time, working on different learning objectives within different courses. If a competency structure is large and complex, acquiring all the knowledge and skills associated with it might involve many learning experiences across several courses.

Access the Competencies tool

Click Competencies on the navbar.

Competencies help topics



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