Competency-Oriented Learning and Tutor Feedback on Students’ Reflection Skills

What did you learn?

From the assigned reading article, I have learnt that reflection is primarily linked to the actual performance. It entails thinking critically about activities during a performance with the aim of restructuring problems, experiences, acumens and present knowledge. In a learning setting, reflection can be defined or distinguished based on “reflection action” implying conceptualizing a lesson before, after and “in action,” which suggest the thinking occurring during a performance. Reflection can also be defined based on spiral ALACT model where five phases are notable: “Action, Looking at or looking back, Awareness of essential aspects, Creation of alternative solutions or methods of action, and Trial” (Smits, Sluijsmans & Jochems, 2009, p 492) Competency-based learning facilitates the development of these reflective skills, according to the article.

What generalizations/conclusions

The conclusive idea is that competency-oriented education facilitates the learners’ ability to acquire competence, such as reflection skills. Connecting reflection to applicable lifelike performance roles in a professional setting boosts the students’ critical thinking skills, resulting in better reflection reports. Besides, adequate feedback on composite learning is essential in competency-oriented education to help the students redirect their learning process. Because reflection on the presentation of complex tasks is challenging, students require support to develop skills in reflection.

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Supporting Literature to Derive Understanding

Study shows that constant feedback on learners’ reflections is fundamental for further learning. Teachers play a vital role in providing uninterrupted feedback. However, skilled practitioners may not help much in reflective development as in most cases they will be thinking about what they have been practicing in their profession (Smits, Sluijsmans & Jochems, 2009, p 492). Appropriate feedback interchanged between the tutor, and the learners’ is important in facilitating the competency-based learning process. 

Ibarra-Sáiz, Rodríguez-Gómez, & Boud (2020), note that the meaning and purpose in the learning environments have changed significantly in recent years. The focus has shifted from the previous areas of interests such as level of detail, speech, clarity, relevance or structure of information delivery. Today, attention is paid significantly to the meaning of feedback and the relationship between learners and tutors. Feedback is no longer a one-way process, but an interactive one where tutors and learners interact with each other, translating to improved outcomes (Ibarra-Sáiz, Rodríguez-Gómez, & Boud 2020, p 9). The notion facilitates the significance of facilitating students’ participation as a source of learning and feedback. Ibarra-Sáiz, Rodríguez-Gómez and Boud’s approach underscores the ALACT mode adopted to enhance learners’ reflective skills as it highlights the interchange of acting and learning, specifying the tutor feedback appropriately to improve the learning outcomes.

Competency-based learning primarily emphasizes what students are expected to do as opposed to focusing on what learners are anticipated to know or master. In principle, competency-oriented learning is learner-centered and responsive to the changing needs of students and teachers. The need for two-way feedback process between the learners, therefore, helps the teachers to understand the students’ behaviors and well as knowing how students perceive their actions. Learners are also more engaged in the learning material processes because they have the ownership of their learning (Ibarra-Sáiz, Rodríguez-Gómez, & Boud 2020, p 13), through the two-way feedback communication, and they can think critically about activities during a performance.

 Competency-oriented education, in general, improves the learners’ critical thinking and reflective competencies. The proper feedback channel is important in competency-oriented education to help the students redirect their learning process. The feedback should be a two-way traffic between the teachers and the learners to enhance learner’s ownership of the learning process, hence facilitating critical thinking. 


Ibarra-Sáiz, M. S., Rodríguez-Gómez, G., & Boud, D. (2020). Developing student competence through peer assessment: the role of feedback, self-regulation and evaluative judgement. Higher Education, 1-20.

Smits, M., Sluijsmans, D., & Jochems, W. (2009). The effects of a competency‐oriented learning environment and tutor feedback on students’ reflection skills. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education34(5), 491-498.