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P1484.20 Original Scope and Purpose

by dray last modified 2007-04-08 09:04

Scope and Purpose for the RCD project as specified in the original PAR for P1484.20

Standard for Information Technology -- Learning Technology -- Competency Definitions


This standard shall specify the mandatory and optional data elements that constitute a Competency Definition as used in a Learning Management System,or referenced in a Competency Profile.This standard is intended to satisfy the following objectives:

  • Provide a standardized data model for reusable Competency Definition records that can be exchanged or reused in one or more compatible systems
  • Reconcile various existing and emerging data models into a widely acceptable model
  • Provide a standardized way to identify the type and precision of a Competency Definition
  • Provide a unique identifier as the means to unambiguously reference are usable Competency Definition regardless of the setting in which this Competency Definition is stored, found, retrieved, or used. For example,metadata that describe learning content may contain a reference to one or more Competency Definition records that describe the learning objectives for the content.
  • Provide a standardized data model for additional information about a Competency Definition, such as a title, description, and source, compatible with other emerging learning asset metadata standards
  • Provide a controlled vocabulary to express how competency definitions are semantically related.

This standard specifically does not cover:

  • A data format, bindings or coding, except as minimally required for the purpose of exchange between compliant implementations
  • Quality and accuracy in the data itself, although it will describe recommended best practices. For example, this standard does not cover the quality or validation of the various parts of a learning objective statement.
  • A competency model, or a taxonomy of competencies.
  • How the relationships between competencies are stored in a database or learning management system.
  • Certification data models. However, Certification records can reference Competency Definitions. For example, an accredited authority may grant certificates that acknowledge that an individual meets the requirements flora particular competency.
  • Individual competency records, as would be found in the competency profiles of individuals or groups. However, such records can include references to specific Competency Definitions. For example, a competency profile for an individual may include a collection of certificates which in turn reference Competency Definitions, as well as a collection of references to the definitions for competencies to be acquired.


The purpose of this standard is to define a universally acceptable Competency Definition model to allow the creation, exchange and reuse of Competency Definition in applications such as Learning Management Systems, Competency or Skill Gap Analysis, Learner and other Competency profiles,etc. The standard is needed because there are currently many definitions of the terms "Learning Objective", "Competency" and "Skill", and very little agreement between how those definitions can be used to define reusable data models. This standard uses a general definition that can be semantically "tightened" or "loosened" in the data itself, while conserving the same data model regardless of how strictly a particular organization or institution requires the data to be formulated. This standard also addresses the following needs:

  • A common data model that allows the building of various competency models, hierarchies and maps (however, the definitions for such applications are outside the scope of this standard).
  • A standard that allows persistent, long lived Competency Definitions to be created, exchanged among systems, and maintained.
  • A standard method by which Competency Definitions can be identified as globally unique among compliant systems and repositories.
  • A standard method to mark a superseded or obsolete Competency Definition, and to point to a more current Competency Definition.
  • A common data model for the meta data that give a reusable Competency Definition its value in a reuse environment, such as the source of the Competency Definition, validation information, and other meta information useful to locate an objective in a repository or collection.
  • Correspondence with the Learning Objects Metadata Standard developed by a parallel group.
Copyright 2004-2007, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource. dray. (2005, August 02). P1484.20 Original Scope and Purpose. Retrieved January 30, 2009, from IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons License