Competencies help track information about the knowledge, skills, and abilities learners acquire as they participate in courses or other learning experiences. Competencies are an inventory of skills and knowledge rather than measures of how good learners are at something. Other vocabulary used to describe competencies can include proficiencies, learning outcomes, standards, objectives, and skills. Examples of competencies can include:
- Certification to operate a forklift
- Expertise on how to troubleshoot a network
- Essential teaching skills acquired from a teacher education curriculum
- License to operate a motorboat after successful completion of a boating safety course
- Understanding and using proper scientific method to design an experiment
The types of competencies you create and track depend on your organization and what you ultimately want to do with the information.
Note: Separate competency structures in the same org unit overlap if they contain the same competencies, learning objectives, or activities. This is ideal for elements that are relevant to completing multiple competency structures.
The following are required to use the Competencies tool:
- To see and use the Competencies tool, you must have the required Competencies permissions applied to your role. These permissions can only be accessed by your organization administrator.
- To add the Competencies tool to your course navbar, you must have the required Navbar permissions applied to your role. For more information about how to add a tool or link to your course navbar, refer to the Customize your course navbar topic.
Note: You can also locate available course tools by navigating to Course Admin from your navbar. If you cannot find the Competencies tool in your Brightspace instance, contact your organization administrator to obtain required permissions.
Visual tour of the Competencies tool
From your course navbar, click Competencies.
Figure: Use the Competencies tool to review or copy existing, or create new competencies and learning objectives.
- Select to expand the tree and view a hierarchy of competencies and learning objectives.
- Select Search to search for existing competencies and learning objectives.
- Create new competencies or learning objectives.
- Copy existing competencies or learning objectives.
- Select Settings to set up the Competencies tool.
- Select Help to learn more about competencies and learning objectives.
Understanding competency structures
A competency structure is a hierarchy composed of three basic elements:
- Learning objectives
Although you can create multiple activities, learning objectives, and competencies within a competency structure, the most fundamental structure must contain at least one competency, one learning objective, and one activity.
If you share a competency structure with a child org unit, the child org unit must be associated with its own activities since activities cannot be shared between org units.
The following table describes the three basic elements of a competency structure.
Competency structures inside and beyond your course
If you create a competency structure as part of a course offering, it is available only within that course offering. For example, you can create a competency to represent the entire course, learning objectives to represent specific units, and associate activities to each unit.
You can create competency structures inside org units such as departments, semesters, or the organization to track users’ achievements beyond a course offering. You can also share these competency structures with multiple course offerings and evaluate the competencies and learning objectives within specific child org units. This enables users to complete the competency in stages over time, working on different learning objectives within different courses. If a competency structure is large and complex, acquiring all the knowledge and skills associated with it might involve many learning experiences across several courses.
Learning objectives are the skills, abilities, or knowledge a person must acquire to become competent in a given domain. Create learning objective statements that are directly measurable through related activities. Other vocabulary used to describe learning objectives can include indicators, criteria, requirements, and learning outcomes.
Activities are the only elements that can be graded in a competency structure. You can use existing tools in Brightspace to create activities, and you can create external manual assessment activities such as a concert performance or an oral presentation.
You can associate activities with relevant learning objectives, and have users complete them so you can evaluate their learning objective achievements. Activities include quizzes, surveys, assignments, discussion topics, grade items, manual assessments, and content (including LTI and SCORM content)
You can add measurable criteria to the activity and set the assessment method as a requirement to completing the learning objective. If a user's activity assessment meets the minimum required threshold set for that activity (for example, minimum rubric level score, minimum numeric score), then the user achieves or is on the path to achieving the associated learning objective.
About parent-child relationships between competency structure elements
When you create a complete competency structure you must first create the elements that make up the structure and associate those elements together. Associated elements have a parent-child relationship. For example, if an activity is associated with a learning objective, the activity is the child and the learning objective is the parent.
If you want to create more complex structures (for example, a learning objective associated with two competencies in different levels of a nested structure), consider creating all of your elements first before adding parent-child relationships.
You can create the following element associations:
About nested competency structures
You can nest competencies and learning objectives by adding a parent-child association between competencies or between learning objectives.
If you have one learning objective that is very broad in scope, dividing it into simpler learning objectives and nesting them beneath it allows users to complete the learning objective in smaller parts. This might also provide a more detailed view of the experiences involved to achieve the overall learning objective.
Nested competencies are ideal if competencies are prerequisites for achieving an overarching competency. For example, if you want to distinguish multiple levels of proficiency, a user might complete a basic level proficiency competency by achieving two learning objectives, then complete an intermediate level proficiency competency by completing two more learning objectives.
If users can view competencies, nested competencies are displayed individually and within their parent-child associations.