Challenging Limitations: Using a Competence-Based Approach to Learning as a Mechanism for Change
Skills for Health carried out an evaluation of five projects with regard to the use of their competences, electronic tools and products that are used within the sector with regard to the following areas: benefits, limitations and experience of using the tools; practical issues of usability; training/support for using the tools; future use of the tools; and future developments for the role of such a competence based approach. The evaluation revealed that learning and change had occurred at a number of levels to support organisational role design and re-design; HRD education programme/curriculum design; and individual development and appraisal.
Despite the competence debate suggesting that competences are unworkable within the academic literature, all five programme and project managers rated the overall usefulness of the competence tools in meeting the purpose for which they were used as ‘very good’ or ‘good’. Improvements or new developments suggested in relation to the competence tools related to use of the website; matching to specific occupational dimensions/levels and qualifications, and the availability of specific competences.
By drawing on specific case study examples, this paper offers attendees an insight into how competence based approaches can work in practice, despite the academic rhetoric that focuses on the systemic flaws of competence based approaches. Examples are presented of organizational, HRD and individual learning, and the resultant change that occurred as a result of the learning being implemented in the workplace.
Keywords: Competence Based Learning, Work Based Learning, Organisational Development
Divisional Manager, Health Policy Team, Skills for Health
Dr. Claire Dickerson
Research Fellow, School of Education, University of Hertfordshire
Dr. Eddie Blass
Senior Lecturer in Professional Education, School of Education, University of Hertfordshire