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printKeywords: competency, subject skills, skills based learning, assessment, grading, activity mapping

What is it?

Competencies describe the level of understanding or proficiency of a learner in certain subject-related skills. Competency-based education (CBE), also known as Competency-based learning or Skills-based learning, refers to systems of assessment and grading where students demonstrate these competencies.

Competencies can be linked to a Moodle course or one or more of its activities. 

Why use it?

A course teacher can list which competencies they will be teaching in their course.

You can use competencies to make sure that you have activities or resources for every competency in the course, by looking at the course competencies page and finding un-mapped competencies. Activities can have multiple competencies.

Who can use it?

Moodle Site Administrators (working in the Digital Education team) can:

  • Set up competency frameworks and add competencies to them. See Competency frameworks for more information.
  • Create learning plan templates, add competencies to them and assign Learning plans to individual selected students or to whole cohorts. 

Tutors and course administrators can:

  • Add competencies to courses and course activities. 
  • View a competency breakdown report from the Administration (Settings) block and rate competencies.
  • Review student learning plans and view any evidence of prior learning students submit. 

Students can:

  • View their learning plans, upload evidence of prior learning and request reviews.
  • See (but not change) the competencies linked to a course from Course administration (Settings) > Course competencies and will also see their current rating for each competency for that course here too.

Before I start...

Determine what competencies you would like students to demonstrate in your course and request the Digital Education team to set these up so you can select those competencies for a particular course and/or its activities and resources.

How do I set one up?

Go to the Moodle course where you would like to enable competencies and follow the steps below, depending on the whether you would like to attach a competency to the Moodle course or an activity or resource.

Add course competencies

A course teacher can list which of the competencies they will be teaching in their course. A teacher can add or remove competencies from a course here, and see which competencies have been linked to which activities. Clicking on the competency name will take the teacher to a grading page for that competency.

  1. In the Administraation (Settings block), click Competencies.
  2. Click the 'Add competencies to course' button.
  3. Select the competency you would like to add from the list (or search for it) and click Add.
  4. Set what to do 'Upon course completion' by choosing to:
    • Attach evidence (default)
    • Send for review
    • Complete the competency

Add activity competencies

 To add a competency to an activity or resource:

  1. Edit the settings for the activity.
  2. In the competencies section, select one or more competencies from the list of course competencies.
  3. Set what to do upon activity completion:
    • Attach evidence (default)
    • Send for review
    • Complete the competency*
  4. You can map more than one competency to an activity, by selecting more than once from the competency list.

*You can set competencies to automatically be marked as complete when an activity is completed. To do this, you need to alter the activity completion settings to indicate what needs to happen to indicate the activity is complete.

View the competency report

To view the competency report:

  1. In the Course Administration (Settings) block click reports > 'Competency breakdown'.
  2. You can filter by student by clicking in the text field in the top, right of the page where it says 'Filter by user' and typing their name, or by choosing their name from the drop down list, by clicking the arrow to the right of this same text box.

Further help

Further guidance on Competencies is available from moodledocs.

If you find any inaccurate or missing information you can even update this yourself (it's a communal wiki).

If you have a specific question about the tool please contact the Digital Education team.



Examples and case studies

A student must demonstrate a skill four times before they achieve a competency

  1. Create four activities (such as four assignments) with activity completion set to receiving a grade.
  2. Set a pass grade from the assignment setting screen.
  3. For assignments 2, 3 and 4, restrict access until the previous assignments have been completed.
  4. In the assignment settings for the final assignment, expand 'Course competencies', select the required competency and set 'Upon activity completion' to 'Complete the competency'.
  5. The student submits work as normal. The teacher grades work as normal. If all four assignments obtain a pass grade, the competency is automatically achieved.

Questions & Answers

For more details see Competencies FAQ.

Further information


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