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When we write our experiences in a book or on a blog, we move our experience from the practical context to a theoretical context. Everyone can read about the experience when you have written it somewhere. This written text is a part of theoretical knowledge. We can think of that theoretical knowledge as the theoretical understanding of something acquired through lectures and textbooks. Knowledge-based learning, therefore, refers to reading, listening, and watching to obtain the information needed before progressing to the next stage of learning.

On the other hand, you can acquire skills by doing. If you practice the same kind of activity repeatedly, you will learn it. Sometimes, you learn when others tell you how to do it. Other times, you try and fail and try again. This means you can master something through regular practice or trial and error. Skill-based learning aims to build upon knowledge by developing practical expertise in a particular area.

Skill-based Learning

The development of the revolution era 4.0 increasingly rapidly demands the wider community to have the ability to think creatively mathematically. One effort to improve the ability to think creatively is through quality education. Quality education can be improved through training thinking using the right learning model.

Elements that can be used in the skilled-based learning may include:

  • Communication (speaking, listening, reading, and writing)
  • Numbers (developing mental and written calculation skills, using data, interpreting measurements, and using these skills).
  • Information and Communications Technology (using ICT tools to find, analyse, interpret, evaluate, and present information)
  • Learning to Learn (a process of discovery about learning, principles and skills, learners learn more effectively)
  • Problem-solving (develop the skills of and strategies to respond to problems and learn from them)
  • Enterprise (the skills for a successful future, developing enterprise, enterprise projects)

Is there a Conflict Between the Competency-based Perspective and the Skill-based Perspective?

On the other hand, do we need to follow either competency-based or the skill-based perspective?

A study published in 2020 analysis the curriculums in New Zealand and Norway concludes that it concerns deep educational values and different cultures for learning. The teacher educators tended to position themselves as positive towards the competency-based perspective on learning and following critical towards the skill-based perspective. The study found that these two perspectives were understood as quite conflicting perspectives, almost mutually exclusive. The study asked how both a skill-oriented and a competency-oriented perspective be combined in a joint understanding of learning? The conflicting elements of this discussion seem to run deep in the educational culture.[1]

We suggest that competency-based perspective and skill-based perspective can walk hand in hand. The one perspective may be most effective for some students or in some situations. The other perspective may be most effective for other students and in other situations.


[1] Madsen, S.S. Understandings and attitudes regarding skill-based and competency-based cultures for learning: a comparative study of Norwegian and New Zealand teacher educators. Educ Res Policy Prac 19, 301–317 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10671-020-09260-y

Lucubrate Magazine May 2021

Picture on the top: Adobe Stock

This article is one in the series about trends for future education:

Rural african school with school children at their desks in classroom in North Tanzania, Africa.

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Karl Skaar
Mr. Karl Skaar

He is a highly successful professional with a high degree of entrepreneurial flair.

- Responsible editor and publisher of the Lucubrate Magazine, Global
- Project Manager of the Lucubrate Project, Global
- Chairman of the Board of Directors of Norsk Kompetansebygging AS, Norway
- Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nobel Knowledge Building, Uganda

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