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date: 22 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article critiques models of competency-based training in vocational education and training in Anglophone countries and contrasts it to ‘kompetenz’ in Germanic countries. It identifies six key problems with Competency-Based Training (CBT): first, CBT is tied to specific ensembles of workplace roles and requirements; second, the outcomes of learning are tied to descriptions of work as it currently exists; third, CBT does not provide adequate access to underpinning knowledge; fourth, CBT is based on the simplistic and behaviourist notion that processes of learning are identical with the skills that are to be learnt; fifth, the credibility of a qualification is based on trust, not what it says a person can do; and sixth, CBT is based on a notion of the human actor as the supervised worker. The article argues generic skills are not the alternative, and it uses a ‘modified’ version of the capabilities approach as the conceptual basis for qualifications.

Keywords: behaviourism, capabilities approach, competency-based training, generic skills, kompetenz, skills, vocational education and training

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