Standard for Competency-Based Learning

Why create a competency-based learning standard?

Since our founding in 1968, when the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) was created by a taskforce of academia, professional associations, government, and other diverse organizations, we have been dedicated to promoting quality in continuing education and training.

Today, as we face rapidly-accelerating change, IACET is focused on serving as a leader in promoting learning that adapts to our changing world. As a result of globalization, changing demographics, technology, and other forces, the world of learning has transformed. Adaptive learning, massive open online courses (MOOCs), eLearning, micro-learning, and a myriad of other modalities are shaping what and how learning can be delivered. Along with classroom-based approaches, these modalities provide opportunities for increased efficiencies and respond to the appetites of a new generation of digital natives.

The complexity of today’s environment offers a rich array of choices to learning professionals—and the criteria we use to determine best fit—is similarly complex. Regardless of the learning approach, IACET wants to ensure that learning is properly targeted, helps individuals and organizations perform fully, and achieves mission-critical objectives. This is where competency-based learning comes in: competencies are our “north star” to navigate through change and to make enduring decisions about learning.

Leveraging our research, competency-based learning (CBL) standard helps organizations to—

  • Align learning with critical organizational imperatives.
  • Allocate limited training dollars judiciously.
  • Ensure learning sticks on the job.
  • Provide learners with the tools needed to be agile and grow.
  • Improve organizational outcomes, return on mission, and the bottom line.

The IACET CBL standard seeks to provide direction and recommendations to providers. The standard includes requirements and references for processes commonly used in the field of learning and development, talent management, and training. The standard focuses on the provider and the provider organization and has implications for the designer, facilitator, learner, and the learner’s organization.

IACET’s current Continuing Education and Training standard focuses on continuing education units (CEUs), which are based on time spent in a learning event. By contrast, IACET’s new CBL standard focuses on mastery of competencies and concrete skills and is not time-based. This will be a shift for many and reflects the new world of on-demand, adaptive, micro-learning, and other transformational trends in the training industry.  IACET will continue to maintain its CEU based Continuing Education and Training Standard due to the broad recognition in statute, rule, regulation and policies. IACET also plans a new accreditation program specifically for competency based learning programs. 

We welcome your organization’s inquiry into how IACET can help bring your training to the next level!

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