Hierarchy of Elements within a Competency – Part 3 of Training for Competence

Hierarchy of Elements within a Competency – Part 3 of Training for Competence

Blooms taxonomy

he hierarchy of elements within a competency:

  1. Are directly related to the hierarchy of human behaviors as delineated in each domain of learning.
  2. Are also related to the logical sequence of steps necessary to teach competency.
  3. Usually run from the simple to the complex
  4. Are closely related to each other. Performance on one depends upon performance of another.
    1. Example: The ability to analyze a situation and make appropriate decisions (not snap judgements) requires the ability to synthesize information in an open minded and confident way. This is the blending of both cognitive and affective behavious.

Let’s see some examples of how hierarchy applies to instructional strategies

Case Study One

Man lecturingRobert has just been hired as the new Human Resource Officer in a large corporation. His job is to design and oversee all aspects of employee on the job training. He has done a fair job training the employees in his old office. He knows what they do because he has done it before. He is comfortable teaching them the ways that worked best for him.  However, he is also responsible for training the employees in the telecommunications division of his company. He has never done this job, but has read a lot about it. He knows the outcome he wants, a customer satisfied with the way they were treated. But he’s not sure what that entails. This is where Robert’s ability to analyze behaviors will be needed to develop his instructional strategy. He must look at what attitudes create a satisfied customer as well as what scripts he wants to teach his employees.  The more he can identify the behaviors that contribute to performance success, the better his training program will be.

Case Study Two

neck and spineJane is a physical therapist who is providing a continuing education program in a new therapeutic technique. She is an expert in her field and has written a book about this technique. But, despite showing the technique in her workshops, and having the students practice on each other, no one seems able to actually do the technique effectively. She’s stumped, and frustrated that her instructional strategy is not working. Jane’s problem is that she has missed a critical step in the hierarchy of behaviors necessary for teaching competency to her students. She has assumed that her students have, what she calls. “gentle hands”. She has not provided any learning experiences that help her students understand what “gentle hands” mean. Her students haven’t been given feedback about touch and hand pressure and direction. That was not part of the course objectives. And therefore they cannot complete the course successfully.


The more you can analyze the behaviors involved in what you want your learners to accomplish, the more you can design your learning experiences to ensure success. A Certified Facilitator of Adult Learning is able to plan an instructional strategy or training program based in knowledge of the hierarchy of behaviors and actions involved to reach the competency

© 3/26/2020 by Jill Newman Henry, EdD  All rights reserved. Use contact form on CFALpro.com to request permission to reprint.