Home > Educational Leadership, Teaching & Learning > Beyond Competence: It’s the Journey to Mastery That Counts

Beyond Competence: It’s the Journey to Mastery That Counts

By Marc J. Rosenberg

“Look around. Find your newest people. How do they learn the basics of their jobs? What do they need to be initially productive? Then watch how those approaches change as they get better at what they do.” For millennia, humans looked into the night sky and saw stars they believed were fixed in space. And, of course, the earth was the center of it all. Now we know that nothing is fixed. The stars move, the earth moves, and we move. It’s all relative, depending on where you stand and what’s around you (thanks, Albert Einstein).

We can apply this perspective to the notion of “competence.” We have tended to think of competence as a fixed point: either you are competent or you are not. With this thinking, Dr. Einstein was just a competent physicist, the Beatles were only a competent band, and Seal Team Six are just a bunch of competent sailors. And try telling Olympians that they are merely competent athletes. Are you thinking about going in for some medical tests? If they told you the doctor is “competent,” would you be concerned? What an uninteresting and stagnant world we would live in if everyone was just competent at what they do.

So the whole idea of competence seems incomplete. We develop dozens, if not hundreds of competencies, and we strive mightily for everyone in the organization to become competent in their work. But are we finished? The fact is that competence is not really the ultimate goal; it is simply one stop on a four-stop road to mastery. And if you are going to make decisions about learning programs and training strategies (including eLearning), it’s important to understand that capability and performance are moving targets. It’s all relative to where learners are, where they have been, and where they are going. So let’s drop the narrow focus on competence and competencies and instead look at a continuum of performance from novice to master.

Visit: http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/930/beyond-competence-its-the-journey-to-mastery-that-counts

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