Training for Competence

Training for Competence

Logo for Certified Facilitator of Adult Learning

The purpose of all training is for the learner to become competent mentally, physically and emotionally to perform the job for which they are being trained.

Are your learners really learning what you are teaching? Can they return to their jobs and use the information and skills you have presented? Or are you providing a good “workshop” that has no carryover into their “real life” experiences?  This article shows you how to tell the difference and how to be a better teacher by training for competence.

The PURPOSE of all training is for the learner to become competent in whatever is being taught. Competent mentally to understand the task, physically to perform the task, and emotionally to want to perform the task well.

The GOAL of the trainer (teacher) is to delineate the elements of the desired competence and provide experiences that allow the learner to develop the competence required.

The DESIGN and implementation of competency based educational activities is the responsibility of Facilitators of Adult Learning who are trying to find out how to be better teachers. Or else why waste the learner’s time?


What is competence?

Competence is the ability, fitness or skill required to effectively perform a complex function. Playing violinThat function may be mental/emotional, as in leadership training or problem solving or physical as in becoming competent in handling an industrial machine or performing an effective physical treatment to another person.

Professional Continuing Education Training and On the Job Business Training demand competence as the result of the educational experience. The results should be a new, complex skilled performed not only in the experience, but carried over into the real life settings after the training.


A competency, or complex skilled performance, is composed of many behaviors which are defined as elements of the competency. These elements are defined by the domains of learning.

  • Cognitive domain is concerned with intellectual or thinking activities. The behaviors are sequenced from the simple act of reciting facts to the more complex application of knowledge to new and different situations, to the most complex intellectual functions of analyzing problems, developing new conceptual frameworks and evaluating abstract concepts.
  • The Affective domain is concerned with the feeling and emotional aspects of human function. The behaviors range from awareness of feelings, to valuing, to the most complex emotional activity of acting on a value system.
  • The Psychomotor domain is concerned with physical activities. The behaviors are sequenced from the simple act of perceiving objects, to the complex behavior of creating new motor actions.
Domains of Learning

A task is an element of a competency, one part of a total complex skilled performance. A task may be as simple as one specific behavior from one of the domains, or as complex as a number of behaviors from two or three domains.

Competent Performance

Competent performance involves the performance of many smaller tasks of thinking, feeling, and doing. When someone isn’t competent, they have failed to perform one of the components or have failed to integrate the components in a meaningful way.  It is up to a competent Certified Facilitator of Adult Learning to provide the learning experiences that enable participants to identify and perform specific tasks, and then help them integrate these tasks to perform the overall competency in a reliable and repeatable way. To do this requires the ability to perform a competency analysis, which is one of the first steps to learn about how to be a better teacher.

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