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Building Competency among New Learners

If you think you can do it, that’s confidence…
If you do it, that’s competence…
Morris Code

Today, the buzz word is competence. Is it same as expertise or is it something new that has just evolved? The fact remains that a student will define his destiny only with the competence in each task assigned to him.
Going back into the olden times, one is reminded of an incident when Dronacharya was training the royal princes. He had given them a task that they had to aim at the eye of a bird that was placed on the branch of a tree. Each prince approached the target and took aim. Dronacharya asked each what they could see when they aimed. Only Arjun was the one who said he could only see the eye of the bird, other than that the princes said they could see the mountains at the back, the leaves, the colour of the flowers and all of that. Dronacharya was elated on hearing Arjun’s reply because that was a display of competence.

The above anecdote shows how competence is developed and how it can be put to test. Competence means going that extra mile or putting in that extra effort in each assignment. This is seen in each and every activity in academic work that is designed in the class by teachers. But the question arises as to how to ensure competency or mastery at various tasks.
The teacher must share the objective of that activity with the students along with the expected standard of performance. The outcome of the activity must be shared with the students as well so that he knows clearly what he needs to do and what is the expected level of performance. Along with this, the expected outcome of the activity must also be clearly defined to students through rubrics so that all ambiguity is at bay.

With the help of some of the above mentioned ways, teachers can ensure a certain level of mastery or competence can be achieved and also maintained. Encouraging students to maintain an e-profile is a good way of not only documenting the work but also helping them to gauge their gradual progression.

Main aspects of Competency Based Learning:

There is a paradigm shift in the methodology of learning. There is a complete change in the overall process. There is change from focus on

  • Course to Experience
  • Grades to peer assessments
  • Teacher made assignments to Co-designed assignments
  • Teacher centric to learner centric

Since spotlight shifts from teacher to the learner, this also makes it imperative to change the evaluation methods as well. This is necessary because the student needs to be told about the expected level of performance where the time given for mastery is variable. The end product is the mastery of competency at the task so time taken for the same is different across the class. The teacher needs to now upskill in order to cater to this new type of learning which the need of the hour is.

A reason why competency is essential is because with the swift changing job arena, many jobs will become redundant and will be replaced by new ones. This transition requires the basic skill of competency so as to assist the paradigm shift.

Written By:- Dr. Ritu Sharma, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education and Humanities, Manav Rachna University

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