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How Can Competency-based Education Improve Employee Performance?

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Competency-based education (CBE), according to the non-profit organization EDUCAUSE, enables students to advance their development based on their learning capacity, skills acquisition, or competency improvement at their own pace. This learning journey could happen in almost all types of environments.

CBE creates opportunities for learners and employees to nurture integrated performance-oriented capacities that can help them handle different challenges. This strategy is designed to accommodate various learning styles and can result in more efficient learner outcomes.

CBE would not work well without high-quality trainer’s training. Trainer’s preparation is a critical component of successful CBE deployment. Trainers must learn how to assess learners and tailor learning experiences to their needs. They must have a thorough understanding of the CBE process, techniques for tailoring learning experiences, mastery-based assessment, and the critical role of technology in learning customization.

Developing competencies standards is a crucial part of CBE. It helps sustain skills at the enterprise level by defining an ideal competent performance to measure a worker’s actual performance. The competency criteria can be tailored to a specific country’s setting and confirmed through a local method. The ILO (2021) recommends considering the following factors when creating a local validation strategy:

  • The industry’s size and geographic dispersion (so representative businesses can participate)
  • The industry’s diversity (i.e., the technology utilized and the products produced)
  • The worker’s profile (to guarantee that all competencies are included)
  • Validation costs and validation time

They must be aware of the differences between CBE and traditional education (TE) while developing competency maps, assessment goals, learning speed, grading, and promotion. They must also understand the importance of assessment in adapting training.

CBE in Healthcare

Healthcare institutions and organizations are being confronted with a number of challenges, including developing clinical approaches and a scarcity of resources. On the other hand, healthcare providers are expected to use care skills effectively and put theoretical knowledge into practice (Eijkenaar et al., 2013; Goudreau et al., 2015). However, a growing amount of research from several countries demonstrates that the clinical performance of healthcare systems is not up to par (Eijkenaar et al., 2013).

Below is a case study demonstrating how CBE works, its effectiveness, and its application to professional practice. It includes a population of physicians, nurses, medical students (residents or interns), and nursing students. CBE courses were offered to improve the clinical performance of medical and nursing students, physicians, and nurses. Traditional education was provided to the control group, and the clinical performance of the study population was the outcome.

The study “The effect of competency-based education on clinical performance of health-care providers: A systematic review and meta-analysis” aimed to evaluate the influence of competency-based education on the clinical performance of healthcare providers. The study takes into consideration the need to develop an intervention to improve the clinical performance of healthcare providers.

The criteria for inclusion were clinical or quasi-experimental trials; physician/nurse or medical/nurse participants; an age range of 18–65 years; adoption of the CBE approach; measurement of clinical performance of the participants using concrete tools of performance assessment; presentation of the results quantitative scoring; and the use of traditional teaching methods for the control group. The exclusion criteria are the use of a combination of CBE and other educational modalities, the lack of a control group, and the measuring of the participants’ theoretical knowledge or non-clinical abilities.

The study used six international electronic databases: PubMed, Ovid, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, ProQuest, Scopus, and Google Scholar. The national electronic databases IranMedex and SID were also used to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis. In addition, the study comprised other studies that were related to the research goals. The Cochrane Collaboration’s Risk of Bias Tool was applied to assess the studies’ quality.

According to the random-effects model, CBE could improve the clinical performance of health care professionals in the intervention group compared to the control group (SMD = 2.717, 95 percent CI: 3.722 to 1.712). 

Competency-based education can help health care practitioners improve their clinical performance. Meanwhile, high turnover rates, decreased job satisfaction, increased presenteeism, poor patient safety, and increased medical errors are consequences of a lack of clinical skills and competencies

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