Why Use Competency Based Training?

Competency-based training enhances employee development by moving beyond the traditional approach of identifying a training need and then attending a training course. As described by Robert F. Magar in Preparing Instructional Objectives (1975), ideal instructional objectives answer three questions:

Competency-based training focuses on all three components of these instructional objectives.The goal of this approach is to provide employees and supervisors with tools tailored to the personal development of each National Park Service (NPS) employee, and to focus on the outcome of achieving the competencies. Competency-based training is outcome-based and learner-driven. It encourages the developmental process through multiple activities, provides for clear performance by measurable standards, assesses achievement of competencies, recognizes an employee’s previous education and training, and aims for personal professional growth

Employees attain competencies in a multitude of ways—life experience; formal education; apprenticeship; on-the-job experience; self-help programs; mentoring; and training and development courses, programs, and activities. Distance-learning methods, including Internet-based courses, satellite broadcasts (TEL), and CD-ROM programs, provide competency training in a cost-efficient, effective, innovative and environmentally friendly format. All of these together contribute to job competence in an employee.

Employees who demonstrate achievements of competencies do not need to take unnecessary training.  Employees who need training and development to accomplish competencies should be given every opportunity to do so.  With supervisory input, employees can set their own developmental direction – develop and follow an Individual Development Plan. The NPS Training and Development Program must and will work with other Human Resource Development groups to provide a tracking mechanism for competencies, however they are achieved, through an automated training record-keeping system, as well as to establish an annual development plan and individual needs assessments to guide the process throughout the Service.