Competencies and lifelong learning: Attitudes & values, skills and knowledge | Skilla (2023)

Matters of terminology

Training and development terminology can be confusing, even at times a minefield to navigate to those unfamiliar with it. The difference between Competencies and Skills is generally well understood, but it becomes less distinct when applied in common organisation-wide practices such as Performance Reviews and Training Needs Analyses, and often the two terms are used interchangeably. More importantly, as we shall discuss, in discussions around competencies and skills, attitudes and values are often neglected or under-represented.

Training needs Analyses are similar to Skills Audits, with the difference that a Skills Audit seeks to identify the skills among staff, and their usefulness and level, without limiting them to those already identified as core skills for specific roles and for the business operation. Though a wider, time and resource-consuming activity, a Skills Audit can unearth underused skills which can be harnessed into competitive advantage.

A Training Needs Analysis tends to be more focussed and aligned to predetermined business objectives, and aims to identify which skills, and in which areas of the organisation, need development. A third exercise, the Competency Assessment, is focussed on the effectiveness among staff of the competencies (core and role-specific) that will enable the achievement of the business strategy and results.

To make more sense of all this, we need to clarify exactly what is meant by a “competency” and by a “skill”.

Competencies and the implications of practising them

There are differing definitions around, but we can safely state that a Competency is an ability, or capability that enables us to achieve a purpose and to obtain results. For this reason, competencies are a vital means for organisations to ensure that the application of staff capabilities results in strategic benefits for the organisation, its clients and partners. In short competencies connect human capabilities with organisational results. In the professional and workplace context, a competency comprises three components, although these essential elements are not always given due recognition or indeed equal weight:
1. Attitudes (or aptitudes) and Values
2. Skills (cognitive, social, emotional, physical and practical)
3. Knowledge (practical, disciplinary, interdisciplinary etc)

The deployment of a competency involves the integration of these three elements for the achievement of specific purposes. In practice, when we deploy a competency, we are motivated and ethical in so doing, empowered by the necessary skills and informed by the relevant combination of knowledge. Quite a demanding requirement if you stop to think about it!

A competency in people management, for example, means in practice the ability to motivate, appraise, support and develop people (skills), applying up-to-date and appropriate knowledge, and a constructive and empathetic approach (attitude and values) in so doing. In contrast, suppose we are experts in applying the most advanced, high tech and engaging methods of people motivation and staff development, or we use highly sophisticated psychometric testing, but at the same time we are judgemental, insensitive or detached in our interaction with our team members; then we do not possess the competency for people management. Demonstrating a competency therefore means putting into practice all three components to achieve a purpose, whether managing people, managing a project, leading a research initiative, or developing a new vaccine, for example.

We can see with this illustration how vital attitudes and values are as an inherent component of a competency. This principle goes for any level of staff; it is merely that expectations in terms of the level of skill, knowledge, emotional and interpersonal intelligence are lower for the less experienced or less senior roles.

Challenges to the attitudes and values component of competencies

In the current technology-driven and globalised “infosphere”, many managers are expected to be proficient in a wide range of competencies, many of which are new and emerging, such as the ability to analyse data and extract business intelligence from it, or the ability to have a good understanding of online marketing. These (understandable) additional pressures and expectations often distract from and undermine their ability to practise good people management.

In such cases, the business sometimes requires managers to be firstly data analysts or business developers, and secondly people managers, with predictable results. If employee engagement, professional development, tools for dealing with uncertainty and staff self-management are all found to be effective and at healthy levels across the organisation, that may not be such an issue, but it is quite rare that all these factors are embedded as effective practice across an organisation, so an element of individual and team people management is almost invariably essential.

The people management example is useful to demonstrate how essential interpersonal and emotional skills (“soft” if you like) are to the healthy functioning of any team or organisation. But the same principle holds for most other competencies. If for example, we take a sales and marketing competency, this includes not only the classic sales skills such as confidence, communication skills, persuasion and negotiation, or the marketing skills of channel marketing, market analysis, marketing funnel management, marketing materials creation and exposition and so on, but also, critically, an appreciation of diversity (if you want to grow or diversify your market), active listening, empathy and integrity.

In the modern diffuse marketing environment, if these attitudes and values and qualities are lacking or falsely claimed in the marketing messages of a product or service, it is only a matter of time before people see through it. In general, if the proposition remains sound, the attitudes and value are what help make the activity sustainable – so people come back for more. There are cases which appear to be exceptions, but they tend be “captive” markets or cases whereby the selling organisation has cleverly created a new market where previously one did not exist, through concerted campaigns of advertising and making their product ubiquitous. Even in such cases, the organisation will have to demonstrate that its activity is invested with positive values and constructive attitudes to be sustainable.

Recruitment and assessment: assumptions about values

When an organisation recruits new staff, besides the interviews, there are typically tests to aid selection, and these may range from reasoning to psychometric tests to presentations, or from problem-based challenges to leaderless group discussions to other methods for the demonstration of the requisite skills, knowledge and attitudes. In these assessments, it is generally assumed that the candidate, especially if they come from a successful educational background, already has the requisite values such as honesty, integrity, and equality.

The assumption is in part driven by another assumption – that such values are innate, or the product of early childhood, and cannot be taught, so the best you can do is judge through the interview or by how someone behaves in a team or problem-based scenario. Evidence from prison education, from child adoption and from innovative educational approaches has demonstrated that teaching values may be challenging but is certainly possible. The effects of the Australian government Values Education initiative were analysed in 2008 and amongst other conclusions attesting to the effectiveness of that particular initiative, it was found that the “explicit teaching of values provides a common ethical language for talking about interpersonal behaviour. It also provides a mechanism for self-regulated behaviour.” Maria Montessori’s approach to education, now diffuse throughout the world, was based on cultivating values in the whole child (not just intellectual and physical but also spiritual and emotional), drawing on the essential good of humanity, so that the children discovered the value of responsibility and self-discipline, and how they lead to independence, with a conscience, in society. There are many examples that demonstrate that positive value and attitudes can be cultivated even quite late in life, as evidenced in the effectiveness of rehabilitation (rather than punishment) programmes, which also have economic benefits.

Competencies and stereotypes: examples from popular mass media

The problem comes when society, or dominant and high-profile components of it, appears not to hold these values in high esteem or practice them consistently. The same principle goes for leaders and the board of Directors in organisations. We cannot expect citizens or staff to be driven by these values in their interaction in society or organisations if they see around them prominent and successful examples who are manifestly driven by priorities quite different these values, and sometimes actually in conflict with them.

There are two well-known programmes in the UK that supposedly represent the real business world, and both have gained a vast audience: Dragons Den, in which people pitch ideas to successful potential investors and The Apprentice, in which talented young individuals are selected for coveted employment opportunities through demonstrating their capability in problem/opportunity-based group situations. In both cases, the TV production pressures unfortunately have led to an unseemly distortion of supposedly successful business behaviour in the shows, especially in the earlier years of these productions.

As these are two of very few TV shows in the UK which focus on business innovation and skills to succeed in the world of work, they have had a considerable influence on people’s perception of how business works. The phrase “you’re fired”, delivered with such finality, is clearly the very opposite of empathetic, and in fact many commentators have argued that the process in the show is designed to humiliate, in order to get higher viewing figures. The same tendency characterises Dragons Den, in which the investors, sitting all-powerful next to their piles of cash, would dismiss carefully constructed pitches by some nervous individuals who had perhaps spend years and a lot of money on developing the idea.

Defenders of these caricatures could argue that one of the most important skills or qualities we need in business, not to mention life, is resilience, And, certainly, that is undeniable; the OECD and World Economic Forum would agree. Also, of course, if we can’t persuade others of the value of our business proposition, then it won’t succeed. But it would be surprising if the shows did not actually put many viewers off the world of business, and deter them from innovating and pitching their idea, because the resilience gained came at the cost of humiliation and being publicly demolished as an individual!

Skills such as opportunity evaluation (and to some extent futures thinking), collaborative problem-solving and initiative are showcased in these two TV programmes, and these are indeed essential skills for the future of work. Knowledge of markets, of pitching techniques, of specific business sectors and of motivational techniques are equally evident in these shows. So far so good.

But are constructive attitudes and positive values much in evidence in the shows? Understanding and forgiving attitudes, empathy, integrity, and honesty are not exactly the defining characteristics of these programmes; the entertainment formula (such as it has been conceived) does not really allow space for these qualities to emerge. How does self-esteem fare in the process of rejection and humiliation? In the context of the programme these factors may be a necessary evil, but someone whose self-esteem has been damaged at work or in life often goes on to damage others. One can’t help asking oneself, therefore: do the supposed experts/ paragons of business success portrayed in these programmes actually have the competencies that are routinely expected in most job roles?

The behavioural norms in business are supposedly the attitudes and values expressed by the decision-makers of these “reality TV” programmes. Many people, including the writer of this article, would contest this and assert that in “reality”, business is not really like that and people are generally more cautious, courteous and understanding of others, especially across cultural and international boundaries. If the objective is “success at all costs” and especially, financial success at all costs then such negative behaviours can become normalised in certain contexts, but they are ineffective when to comes to lifelong learning and to adapting to change, which are widely agreed to be utterly essential for the future of work and workers.

Attitudes and the aptitude for lifelong learning

In 2015, the CBI’s Education and Skills Survey in the UK reported, from extensive research with businesses employing over 1 million people between them, that 85% of business respondents considered that attitudes and character were the most important factor when recruiting young people, and 58% cited aptitudes as the most important aspect. These figures dwarfed the number of respondents who regarded qualifications (39%) or academic results (31%) as the most important factor. Six years later, in the attitudes and character category, we can add growth mindset and learning agility – i.e. the attitude that change and challenge are learning opportunities – and in the skills category, resilience, the ability to deal with uncertainty, change readiness and adaptability. These are some of the key prerequisites for effective lifelong learning, in work and in life.

Why is lifelong learning so important, and why are learning strategies such highly valued competencies according to the World Economic Forum, UNESCO and other national and international organisations? Because the momentous changes we are experiencing, especially demographic transformation, climate change, rapid technological advancement and globalisation, call for massive and urgent reskilling and upskilling – of 40% of workers worldwide by 2024, according to the Future of Jobs report in 2020.

As set out in “Upskilling for Shared Prosperity”, the WEF and other global organisations set the ambitious target to upskill 1 billion people by 2030. If all the workers involved in this “upskilling revolution” are to have some say in their futures, to thrive and survive in this radical near-future reality and wish to be fulfilled in their work – rather than merely being pawns in yet another industrial revolution – they will need to embrace lifelong learning and make learning strategies foremost among their most well-developed competencies.

Facing the considerable challenges of mass upskilling while dealing with monumental challenges like climate change, water scarcity, demographic and health crises, it is also abundantly clear that, as well as new combinations of skills and constantly developing knowledge, we need the values component of competencies as the critical foundation for our response. We need to develop our “common ethical language for interpersonal behaviour” (Dr Neil Hawkes) as adults in a globalised, collaborative world, and to develop self-regulated behaviour and the vital skill of self-management and awareness, as responsible lifelong learners.


Competencies and lifelong learning: Attitudes & values, skills and knowledge | Skilla? ›

Key competences include knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed by all for personal fulfilment and development, employability, social inclusion and active citizenship. The approach is to promote key competences by: Providing high-quality education, training and lifelong learning for all.

What are competencies in lifelong learning? ›

Key competences include knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed by all for personal fulfilment and development, employability, social inclusion and active citizenship. The approach is to promote key competences by: Providing high-quality education, training and lifelong learning for all.

What are competences skills knowledge attitudes? ›

A competency is commonly described as a combination of skills, knowledge and attitudes that enable an individual to perform a task or an activity successfully within a given context.

What knowledge, skills attitudes or values are most worthwhile to be taught and learned? ›

critical thinking and problem solving. innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship. learning to learn/self-awareness and self-direction. collaboration.

What skills knowledge and attitudes do I require to achieve competency target? ›

Level of Physical and Aptitudinal Skills and Knowledge.
  • Management of Time and Priority Setting. ...
  • Goals and Standards Setting. ...
  • Work Planning and Scheduling. ...
  • Listening and Organising. ...
  • Clarity of Communication. ...
  • Getting Objective Information. ...
  • Training, Mentoring and Delegating. ...
  • Evaluating Employees and Performance.

What are the 5 learning competencies? ›

Conclusion. The five SEL competencies (self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision making, social awareness, and relationship skills), are vital to the teaching and understanding of social and emotional learning at school.

What are the 8 key competences for lifelong learning? ›

The Key Competences are:
  • Multilingual competence.
  • Personal, social and learning to learn competence.
  • Citizenship competence.
  • Entrepreneurship competence.
  • Cultural awareness and expression competence.
  • Digital competence.
  • Mathematical competence and competence in science, technology and engineering.
  • Literacy competence.

What are the 4 main competencies? ›

The IPEC panel identified four core competency domains: 1) values and ethics; 2) roles and responsibilities for collaborative practice; 3) interprofessional communication; and 4) teamwork and team-based care.

What are the four 4 common competencies? ›

The 4 skills:
  • Creativity…to find solutions.
  • Critical thinking…to think logically.
  • Cooperation and Communication…to work together.
May 5, 2021

What are the 3 main core competencies? ›

The 3 Core Competencies
  • Communication.
  • Thinking.
  • Personal and Social.
Jul 23, 2020

What is the five types of important values and skills? ›

Five Core Values
  • INTEGRITY. Know and do what is right. Learn more.
  • RESPECT. Treating others the way you want to be treated. Learn more.
  • RESPONSIBILITY. Embrace opportunities to contribute. Learn more.
  • SPORTSMANSHIP. Bring your best to all competition. Learn more.
  • SERVANT LEADERSHIP. Serve the common good. Learn more.

What are 3 key features in the development of attitudes and values? ›

In terms of attitudes and values, young people need to develop motivation and a commitment to the protection of human dignity; empathy and solidarity for others; and a sense of justice and responsibility for their own actions and those of others.

What is an example of knowledge, skills and attitudes? ›

A person would need to have a basic knowledge of the subject before developing the skill or attitude. For example, a person would need to learn the ingredients and steps involved in making cookies (knowledge) before they actually perform the task of making them (skill).

How do I write about my knowledge skills and abilities? ›

How to write a KSA statement
  1. Prepare a short summary or range of appropriate skills in the relevant area. Review the job description to gather the requirements for the role. ...
  2. Describe the situation or context. ...
  3. Explain the task. ...
  4. Describe your actions. ...
  5. Detail the results.
Mar 10, 2023

How do you answer skills and competency questions? ›

How to answer competency questions
  1. Situation/task - describe the task that needed to be completed or the situation you were confronted with. ...
  2. Action - Explain what you did and how and why you did it. ...
  3. Result - Describe the outcome of your actions.

What key competencies and skills you need in your role? ›

Core Competencies for Success
  • Adaptability and Change.
  • Communication.
  • Collaboration and Teamwork.
  • Continuous Learning.
  • Creativity and Innovation.
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving.
  • Organizational Awareness.
  • Self-Awareness.

What are the 7 learning competencies? ›

The seven skills are: • Collaboration • Communication • Creativity • Critical Thinking • Character • Citizenship • Computational Thinking If we believe our work as teachers is mainly to prepare students for successful futures, then we should give opportunities for students to strengthen these skills.

What are the 7 common competencies? ›

7 Universal Competencies for Success:
  • #1. Build Relationship: ...
  • #2. Develop people. ...
  • #3. Lead change. ...
  • #4. Inspire others. ...
  • #5. Think critically. ...
  • #6. Communicate clearly. ...
  • #7. Create accountability. ...
  • Tip: Use the seven universal competencies as a framework for feedback.
May 7, 2019

What are the 3 key characteristics of competency based learning? ›

The concept of competency-based learning focuses on 3 key characteristics: learner-centric, differentiation, and learning outcomes.

What are the 9 basic competencies? ›

world, particularly in contemporary careers and workplaces.

What are the four types of lifelong learning? ›

Lifelong Learning: Formal, Nonformal, Informal, and Self-Directed.

What are the six core competencies learning? ›

The Core skills

Critical thinking and problem solving. Communication and collaboration. Creativity and imagination. Student leadership.

What are the 11 core competencies? ›


What are the 13 common core competencies? ›

The 13 Competencies includes Drive for Results, Service Orientation, Quality Orientation, Planning & Organizing, Analysis & Problem Solving, Entrepreneurial Orientation, Risk Management, Relationship Management, Adaptability & Change Management, Team Leadership, People Development, Visionary & Strategic Thinking and ...

What are the 12 competencies? ›

Each domain contains twelve competencies: emotional self-awareness, emotional self-control, adaptability, achievement orientation, positive outlook, empathy, organisational awareness, influence, coaching and mentoring, conflict management, teamwork, and inspirational leadership.

What are the 4 C of competency? ›

The four C's of 21st Century skills are:

Critical thinking. Creativity. Collaboration. Communication.

What are examples of competencies? ›

Examples of Core or Behavioral Competencies:

Teamwork, problem-solving, customer service, communication, result-orientation, decision-making, self-motivation, integrity.

How do I identify my core values? ›

Guide to determine your values
  1. Write down your values. Review the list of examples of core values above and write down every value that resonates with you. ...
  2. Consider the people you most admire. ...
  3. Consider your experiences. ...
  4. Categorize values into related groups. ...
  5. Identify the central theme. ...
  6. Choose your top core values.
Aug 8, 2022

What are 4 important values? ›

The Four Values Framework: Fairness, Respect, Care and Honesty | SpringerLink.

What are the 7 types of values? ›

The seven core values include honesty, boldness, freedom, trust, team spirit, modesty, and responsibility. These values are crucial for any interaction and creating a connection with the outside world.

What is an example of attitude and values? ›

This implies that people refer to different values when justifying opposing attitudes toward a specific topic. For example, many people indicate that they feel favorable toward increased access to abortion because they value freedom, whereas others say that they feel unfavorable because they value the sanctity of life.

What are the three 3 components of an attitude with an example? ›

And, they have three components: an affective component (feelings), a behavioral component (the effect of the attitude on behavior), and a cognitive component (belief and knowledge) (Rosenberg & Hovland, 1960). For example, you may hold a positive attitude toward recycling.

What is positive values and attitudes? ›

A positive attitude is a state of mind that focuses on the good and potential in things, situations and people. This can be contrasted with a negative attitude that views things in a cynical, pessimistic or generally unfavorable light. A positive attitude tends to be more productive.

What is the 10 examples of important knowledge and skills? ›

10 essential skills you'll need for career success
  • Communication. Communication includes listening, writing and speaking. ...
  • Problem solving. Challenges will arise in every job you have. ...
  • Teamwork. ...
  • Initiative. ...
  • Analytical, quantitative. ...
  • Professionalism, work ethic. ...
  • Leadership. ...
  • Detail oriented.
Apr 17, 2019

What are the most important skills and attitudes necessary for success? ›

Communication. Critical thinking and problem solving. Team and relationship building, including collaboration. Organizational skills, such as balancing work and family life.

What is an example to describe my skills? ›

I am a talented, ambitious and hardworking individual, with broad skills and experience in digital and printed marketing, social media and leading projects. Furthermore, I am adept at handling multiple tasks on a daily basis competently and at working well under pressure.

How do you develop your skills and abilities give examples? ›

Developing a skill requires three essential steps: Get training. Attend a workshop, take a course, read an article or book, observe someone who excels at the skill. These are all ways to add strategies to your toolbox.

How do you apply knowledge and skills at work? ›

Applying Academic Knowledge To Your Job
  1. Reflect on Your Academic Knowledge.
  2. Seek Opportunities for Continued Practice.
  3. Teach it To Others.
  4. Set Goals for Implementation.
  5. Group Work.
  6. Change Your Routine to Include New Knowledge.
  7. Don't Try to Implement Everything at Once.
Jun 25, 2018

How do you pass a competency interview question? ›

Answers to competency based questions need to be delivered in an articulate, detailed and structured way. Candidates must be able to talk the interviewer through their examples, explaining the process used to work through problems or hit targets.

How would you describe your skills answer? ›

Personal skills, such as being positive and responsible, learning quickly and working safely. Teamwork skills, such as working well with others, and helping your team with their projects and tasks. Fundamental skills, such as communicating well, managing information, using numbers, and solving problems.

What is an example of competency answers? ›

Examples of competencies
  • Teamwork – “Tell me about a time you led or worked in a team.”
  • Problem solving – “Describe a situation where you solved a problem.”
  • Decision making – “Give an example of a time where you made a difficult decision.”
  • Leadership – “Describe a situation where you showed leadership.”

What skills or competencies do you want to develop? ›

Below are key transferable skills that you should develop to ensure you're on the right path to career progression.
  • Communication and networking skills. ...
  • Leadership and management skills. ...
  • Planning and research skills. ...
  • Teamwork and interpersonal skills. ...
  • Self-management skills.
Jan 10, 2023

What are competencies in learning to learn? ›

The learning to learn competence also includes the ability to organize and structure one's own learning, in individual or group contexts, as well as the ability to effectively manage time and information, problem solving, and adoption, application, and evaluation of new knowledge in different circumstances [5]. ...

What are the 4 learning competencies? ›

The 21st century learning skills are often called the 4 C's: critical thinking, creative thinking, communicating, and collaborating. These skills help students learn, and so they are vital to success in school and beyond.

What are the 3 learning competencies? ›

The 3 Core Competencies
  • Communication.
  • Thinking.
  • Personal and Social.
Jul 23, 2020

What are skills and competencies examples? ›

An example of a hard skill, then, may be computer programming or proficiency in a foreign language, whereas a soft skill may be time management or verbal communication. Competencies, on the other hand, are the person's knowledge and behaviours that lead them to be successful in a job.

What are the 7 common competencies in order? ›

The seven core competencies are:
  • Lean-Agile Leadership.
  • Team and Technical Agility.
  • Agile Product Delivery.
  • Enterprise Solution Delivery.
  • Lean Portfolio Management.
  • Organizational Agility.
  • Continuous Learning Culture.

What is the difference between competencies and skills? ›

Competency: Knowledge, behaviors, attitudes and even skills that lead to the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. The ability to make business decisions would be a competency. Skill: Learned and applied abilities that use one's knowledge effectively in execution or performance.

What is most essential learning competencies? ›

What exactly are the Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELCs)? Refers to the knowledge, understanding, skills, and attitudes that students need to demonstrate in every lesson and/or learning activity.

What is an example of competence? ›

Competence on a task or job means that you have some ways of thinking or behaving that matter for performance on that task. For example, if you're a seller, then your ability to establish trust with customers affects the sales you make. Being able to establish credibility is a part of your competence in that job.

What are the 4 core of learning? ›

These skills are Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. In the context of first-language acquisition, the four skills are most often acquired in the order of listening first, then speaking, then possibly reading and writing. For this reason, these capabilities are often called LSRW skills.

What are the 6 learning skills? ›

The six learning skills and work habits are responsibility, organization, independent work, collaboration, initiative, and self-regulation.

What are the four 4 C's in the learning skills refers to? ›

The Granite School District Educational Technology Department seeks to leverage the power of technology to support the “Four Cs” of 21st Century Learning: Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity.

What are basic competencies? ›

DEFINITION. The BASIC COMPETENCIES refer to non-technical skills (knowledge, skills. and attitudes) that everybody will need in order to perform satisfactorily at. work and in society and are considered portable and transferable irrespective. of jobs and industrial settings.

How do I find my core competencies? ›

How to identify core competencies for your business
  1. Revisit your company's mission statement. ...
  2. Brainstorm why your company is important to customers. ...
  3. Consider your current competencies. ...
  4. Compare each competency against the three criteria for core competencies. ...
  5. Write down the core competencies you come up with for your company.

What are your core competencies? ›

For any organization, its core competency refers to the capabilities, knowledge, skills and resources that constitute its "defining strength." A company's core competency is distinct, and therefore not easily replicated by other organizations, whether they're existing competitors or new entrants into its market.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Trent Wehner

Last Updated: 21/10/2023

Views: 5602

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Trent Wehner

Birthday: 1993-03-14

Address: 872 Kevin Squares, New Codyville, AK 01785-0416

Phone: +18698800304764

Job: Senior Farming Developer

Hobby: Paintball, Calligraphy, Hunting, Flying disc, Lapidary, Rafting, Inline skating

Introduction: My name is Trent Wehner, I am a talented, brainy, zealous, light, funny, gleaming, attractive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.