Competency Based Approach in Training

Why is it Needed

To fulfil its mission, each National Scout Organization (NSO) must have a clear view of its needs and the needs of its adults. NSOs rely on adult volunteers to deliver their youth programmes. For these volunteers to be effective, they need training and continuous development for all functions and at all levels of the NSO.

Effective training is based on both individual and organizational needs. It should contain all competencies required to enable an adult to fulfil their role. Sometimes the requirements, as defined by the NSO, do not coincide with the requirements perceived by the adults themselves. To increase motivation, adults have an important job to play in determining the content of their training and trainers need to balance the NSO’s needs with the adults’ needs.

What is it

Competency-based training is focused on specific competencies or skills. It is also known as outcome-based learning/training or skills-based learning/training. Competence is the ability to display the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to perform a given task.

Key characteristics:

  • Learner Centric: Competency-based learning focuses on the learner as an individual. It provides opportunities for each individual to develop skills at their own pace, collaborates with others. and collect evidence of learning.
  • Outcomes Based: Competency-based learning starts with well-defined learning outcomes. Focusing on outcomes facilitates the development of short-term and long-term objectives.
  • Assessment Centered: An essential characteristic of competency-based training is the development of assessment instruments to measure the performance in each course (during or after) of Unit Leaders/Leaders of Adults/Trainers based on the successful demonstration of competencies, after the training.
How is it Used

A competency-based training program can be broken down into six steps:

  1. Conduct a training needs analysis
  2. Identify the roles of the Adults in Scouting
  3. Identify the competencies for the job
  4. Design and implement training based on competencies
  5. Conduct a competency-based assessment
  6. Analyze and review

Six Steps of the Competence Based Approach

Conduct a Training Needs analysis (TNA)

The first step is to conduct a needs analysis. What competencies does your NSO need to fulfil its mission? What skills and training do your adult volunteers need to deliver the youth program? Consider all functions and all levels in your organization.

Identify the Roles of the Adults in Scouting

AiS can be appointed as Scout leaders, trainers, Leaders of Adults, etc. This appointment is based on the needs of the organization. Each role or position has a set of functional duties and responsibilities (Job Description) detailing what the job entails.

Identify the Competencies for the Job

Competencies can be categorized into three groups:

  • Functional competencies are skills directly related to the roles of Unit Leaders/Leaders of Adults/Trainers and therefore necessary to fulfil their functions.
  • Personal/key competencies include the life skills needed by most people to participate in all aspects of life, whether scouting, work, education, etc.
  • Scouting competencies include knowledge, attitudes, and skills specific to Scouting.
Design and implement Training based on Competencies

Based on the competencies identified, design the training. The content of all courses should be topics based on the competencies related to the roles and functions deemed significant and validated by your NSO. Feel free to add other topics relevant to your national strategy and local situation.   

Conduct a competency-based assessment

Conduct a Competency Based Assessment

Competency Based Assessment is evidence-based. Gather evidence to decide whether a person has achieved a standard of competence. The criteria used may be from a set of competency standards, learning outcomes, or other performance outcomes.  There are usually five steps in the assessment process:

  1. The adult being assessed conducts a self-assessment.
  2. The assessor reviews this self-assessment based on the adult’s achievement of certain outcomes.
  3. The adult and the assessor jointly identify developmental needs/areas for improvement.
  4. Based on the review, the assessor determines the type of training required to meet the identified developmental needs, for example, onsite and offsite training.
  5. After the training, the adult is re-assessed.

A range of evidence or alternative assessments could be used to support the attainment of competencies, for example, samples of previous work documented evidence of achievements, references from people familiar with the adult’s achievements (which can be used in portfolio assessment) and if necessary, a demonstration of performance by a practical assessment.

Analyze and Review

Analyze the outcomes of the assessment and review the competencies required based on the changing needs of your NSO.


Wood badge Competencies (Cluster and Competencies):

  • Applies Fundamentals of Scouting in all actions or work
  • Identifies with WOSM’s Mission, Vision and Strategy for Scouting
  • Utilises the Scout Method, develops and delivers the Youth Programme
  • Develops and maximises Youth engagement
  • Demonstrates Safe from Harm and Diversity & Inclusion practices
  • Develops, grows, and manages Teams
  • Provides leadership appropriate to circumstances and situations
  • Demonstrates suitable coaching and mentoring
  • Uses and manages appropriate Emotional Intelligence processes
  • Models[1] motivation and demonstrates encouragement 
  • Demonstrates competence in managing the Project Life Cycle
  • Identifies tasks and is results oriented
  • Applies adaptability and flexibility
  • Utilises creative thinking and applied problem-solving methods
  • Applies project monitoring and evaluation processes including Team operations
  • Applies active listening skills
  • Identifies and processes Information
  • Communicates effectively
  • Applies appropriate conflict management strategies
  • Demonstrates cultural awareness
  • Describes and applies the Adults in Scouting Life Cycle
  • Uses adult development needs analysis and evaluation processes
  • Interprets[2] appropriately Youth and Adult development characteristics and individualised learning needs
  • Designs and utilises innovative adult development methods and techniques and develops training opportunities
  • Makes use of successful learning experiences for adult development and continuous improvement

[1]  Models: a word linked to ‘demonstrates’, ‘shows by example’, displays’, ‘shows off’ and so on.

[2] Interprets: a word linked to ‘translates’, ‘unravels,’ deduces’.

See also:

Adult Training


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