18 Creating a new framework

Creating a new framework using the toolkit

If you are building a new competency framework, you are likely not creating everything from scratch. There may be some existing information to draw from, but the toolkit can help you work through the process and provide templates for different stages of the process.

Process Steps and Considerations

(Click on each process step heading to show/hide the details for that step)



Templates for this stage: Competency Framework Development Canvas

Main activities at this stage:

  • Discovery – what can using the toolkit help you achieve?
  • Define scope and context of framework – primary users, applications, and purpose/goals using the framework development canvas template
  • Conduct literature review/environmental scan – research on what already exists. Are there frameworks out there that you can leverage?
  • Review technical requirements if you are using a software application to create the competency framework
  • Define clear guidelines and procedures for development
  • Set up project structure and team (e.g. Do you need a project manager/lead? Who will be the subject matter experts that you call on? Do you need a writer? An instructional designer?)

Important considerations at this stage:

  • Who do you need to talk to if there are no competencies developed for the role or context? Which experts do you need to call on?
  • Determine the purpose from the onset – what problem(s) are you trying to solve by using the toolkit?
    • What is the purpose or use of the competency framework?
    • Who is the end user? What is their understanding of competencies?
    • Do you need a simple framework, or can it be something more complex?
  • Does anyone else have a framework/competencies that you could use?
    • Has anyone else developed one you really like?
    • It is often easier to repurpose and adapt something rather than create from scratch.

Templates for this stage: Competency Authoring Template and Competency Framework Development Workbook

Main activities at this stage:

  • Use a facilitated development process to define competencies and framework structure. Options may include:
    • Job role and task analysis with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
    • Broader research instruments – surveys, interviews, focus groups
  • Confirm purpose of framework and targeted audience with SMEs
  • Review technical requirements if using a software application to build the framework. Ensure that the competency framework fits the software’s purpose and capabilities rather than ‘fitting’ the framework to the software
  • Start with a high level list of competencies and groupings and work to a more granular level
  • Work with stakeholders/contractors to populate templates using iterative design process
  • Manage scope changes – sometimes change may be warranted, but also can derail processes
  • Ensure input from a broad group of stakeholders and SMEs. Be conscious of internal bias and adequate representation.
  • Validate framework with broader stakeholder group
  • Revise framework based on stakeholder feedback

Important considerations at this stage:

  • Ensure input from a broad group for validation, including those who participated in initial development.
  • Use a “Goldilocks” approach in defining competency and activity groupings (not too big, not too small)
  • Input and validation need to capture a wide range of perspectives, and be checked for unconscious bias. Questions to ask:
    • Who is the framework for?
    • How will they use it?
    • Did we invite them to participate in developing it? If not, how do we ensure their input during validation?

Main activities at this stage:

  • Final editing
  • Preparing for distribution (print, digital)
  • Publish revised framework
  • Socializing/promoting to intended audiences

Important considerations at this stage:

  • Which formats are your publishing your framework on?
  • Flexibility and adaptability – these have to be “living documents”
    • Does the framework need to allow for additions later on?

Main activities at this stage:

  • Plan a revision cycle and frequency after publication – useful for both ensuring currency and engagement of stakeholders
  • Gather feedback on usability and any errors or omissions
  • Monitor for changes that may impact the competency framework (changes in technology, occupational scope, etc)

Important considerations at this stage:

  • Ongoing maintenance – Who will be responsible? Who ‘owns’ the framework?
  • Where does it live? How do people access the framework? Are they using it?
  • How will it be maintained? Do you have the resources to keep the framework current?


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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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