Something that an individual or team undertakes effort to complete. Activities may be broad and ongoing, or may require a number of specific tasks, each of which may have its own beginning and end.

competence / competent

The ability to do something successfully or efficiently

competency (pl. competencies)

The specific and measurable combination of knowledge, skills and attributes that result in the performance of an activity or task to a defined level of expectation or performance standard.

competency frameworks

A combination of well-defined competencies and hierarchical information on how competencies are grouped and connected to work activities, job roles, assessments and more for various applications.

competency groupings

A set of more than one defined competencies that create a larger component within a competency framework or for a particular use. Competency groupings may be hierarchical and have several layers of sub-groupings, and a single competency may be included in many different groupings.

competency statement

A descriptive statement that states what a competent individual is doing, and in what context

concrete action verb

Concrete action verbs are also known as measurable verbs. They state actions which can be observed and measured when used in context with an activity.

digital badges

A digital badge is a digitally issued credential that contains structured information that is standardized for easier sharing and can be evaluated and authenticated via embedded links. This leads to trusted recognition for learners and makes their credentials more portable and meaningful.

expected behaviours

measurable and observable actions that demonstrate performance of the competency to the expected standard

learning activities

Learning activities are the things the learner engages in doing to achieve the learning objectives. Learning activities may be lessons, assignments, projects, etc. and may or may  not be graded or assessed.

learning objectives

Learning objectives are smaller and more focused than learning outcomes. They state the intended goals for smaller pieces of learning, such as for a single lesson or course module. (e.g. Each lesson in a course will have specific  learning objectives.) Objectives usually focus on knowledge acquisition or development of discrete skills; describe process rather than the intended result and are aligned with learning outcomes.

learning outcomes 

Learning outcomes are broad statements of what someone will be able to do on completion of the learning intervention, usually at the end of a "course" or "program". The learning outcome expresses the integrated learning by a student and explains what the learner will achieve.


Metadata is data that describes or summarizes other data. It provides information about a certain item's content. This may include tags or key words that are attached to a descriptor and therefore can by searched, found easily and are machine readable.


A micro-credential is a certification of assessed learning associated with a specific and relevant skill or competency. Micro-credentials enable rapid retraining and augment traditional education through pathways into regular postsecondary programming.

performance criteria

measurable outcomes required to demonstrate proficiency in the competency

proficiency scale

A system for measuring levels of proficiency. Proficiency scales may have a number of defined steps or stages or may be expressed in terms of a percentage compared to the highest level of performance. Proficiency scales are often used for formal assessment of practical tasks, when combined with defined performance criteria and rubrics.


Specifications for grading against a specific scale. Rubrics in the context of assessment of competence should identify specific specific performance that must be demonstrated in order to be granted a specific status or level of achievement in relation to the competency and/or proficiency scale.

supporting knowledge and skills

The underlying things you must know and be able to do in order to demonstrate the competency. Knowledge and skills alone are not enough to demonstrate competence; they must be applied together within the context of the activity being undertaken.


A specific activity that has a start and an end. Multiple tasks may be required to complete broader work activities, and tasks may in turn have smaller sub-tasks or steps that are required to complete them.

taxonomy (pl. taxonomies)

A classification into ordered categories. In competency frameworks, it usually refers to information categorized and arranged in several, increasingly specific levels.

world of work and learning

The world of work and learning encompasses activities and expectations that are found in both the workforce and higher education, as well as those that may be done on a volunteer basis but include clear roles, responsibilities, and performance expectations.


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eCampusOntario Open Competency Toolkit Copyright © 2021 by Dennis Green and Carolyn Levy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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