Moodle 3.2: Competency Based Education

A student may apply for a job having gained a good academic qualification, but does this provide potential employers with enough information to assess what a prospective employee is really capable of? Could Competency Based Education (CBE) help address the workforce skills gap? Well according to an article in Harvard Business Review, online CBE is set to “[…] revolutionize the workforce” by addressing the skills gap. (Weise, 2014)

Moodle 3.2 supports the development of CBE frameworks. CBE is a style of education where learning is based on clearly defined and measurable learning outcomes and achievements rather than on programmes or modules studied.

CBE encourages a flexible modular approach to learning. Typically, each competency or learning outcome will be broken down into smaller activities that must be completed in order for the competency to be met. Details of how each competency can be achieved are usually provided.

CBE allows for the creation of learning plans based on identified areas of study, and also allows work-based learning, where a student can work towards meeting all the requirements for a specific role. It should be noted that CBE focusses on specific employer needs and may not be suitable for providing learners with transferrable skills or providing knowledge required in a limited timescale.

CBE and Moodle

In Moodle, CBE can be used to set up competencies, competency frameworks and learning plans outside of specific modules. These can work across modules and can be linked to specific activities.

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Competency frameworks are created, to which any number of competencies can be added, and students are evaluated against specific criteria in the relevant competencies. Competencies can be linked to other competencies or can have automatic completion rules.



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One or more competencies can be linked to Moodle activities by selecting the competencies from a drop-down menu when setting up the activity.



Learning plan templates can also be created with competencies linked to them.  A learning plan can be assigned to a group of students or to individually selected students. An amendment to a template will be assigned to all students who are linked to the template.

CBE at City

There are several ways that CBE could be used at City, University of London, including:

  • Work-based placements;
  • Modules that are studied across different schools;
  • Professional Development programmes;
  • Short courses;
  • Stand-alone modules.

Interested in using CBE?

In order for lecturers to have the capability to monitor student progress against competencies and to review learning plans in Moodle, custom roles must be set up. Each role would be given a custom name, together with a description and a set of capabilities.

We will need to create some use cases to set up competencies and custom user roles in Moodle. If you think you might be interested in exploring the use of competencies in Moodle, please comment on this post below and we will get in touch with you.


Weise, M. (October 17, 2014) ‘The Real Revolution in Online Education Isn’t MOOCs’ in Harvard Business Review. [online] Available from: (Accessed: 30.5.17)

Further reading

This post is part of a series exploring what’s new in Moodle 3.2. For more on what’s coming with Moodle 3.2, all of our posts are tagged as Moodle 3.2.

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2 thoughts on “Moodle 3.2: Competency Based Education

  1. Thanks for the interesting post. This has an obvious link to what we do in careers and I could see it being useful for some of our internship programmes we are developing like microplacments when we ask students to reflect on their experiences.

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