Competence-based training results in better performance

Research that shows the relationship between competence development and performance improvement of Chalachew Tarakegne and colleagues in now published online (open access).

The study is about the effects of Comprehensive Competence-Based Training (CCBT) on the competence development and performance improvement of smallholder farmers in Ethiopia. A three-week randomized control group pretest-posttest design was applied in a single-blind field experiment. The impact of CCBT was tested by providing a training to two comparable farmer groups using conventional training and competence-based training. Both groups were labeled ‘Low-CBT’ and ‘High-CBT’ groups, referring to the below and above average level of implementation of principles of competence-based education in the training programs. The study was conducted amongst smallholder farmers (High-CBT n= 220; Low-CBT n = 220) in the West Gojjam Zone in Ethiopia. Dependent variables were related to an authentic professional core task during maize planting, and actual yield gain.

Data on competence development and performance improvement of farmers were collected from the participants, trainer, Development Agents and Trained Assessors.

The yield in quintal/hectare gains for each smallholder farmer was collected twice (before and after the intervention).

Repeated (pretest, posttest) MANOVA and ANOVA measurements were used to analyze the data.

The results showed that smallholder farmer competence development was higher in the High-CBT-group that in the Low-CBT-group.

Both groups showed better performance on the authentic job task and on the yield gains.

The latter is crucial, as it shows the difference between the groups in terms of objectively measurable performance. The baseline average yield for both groups was 22 quintal/hectare of maize. The High-CBT-group had a yield of 41 quintal/hectares of maize (+86% compared to the baseline), whereas the Low-CBT-group had 31 quintal/hectares of maize (+41%). The difference between these two, 86% improvement versus 41% improvement compared to the baseline is quite substantial and justifies considerable investments in competence-based training of small-holders farmers in comparable situations.

More research should be done to substantiate the relationship between competence-based education and training on the one hand, and competence development and performance improvement on the other hand. This study in Ethiopia can be replicated in other developing countries to see if the results will be positive as well.

The full reference the the article is as follows: Tarakegne, C., Wesselink, R., Biemans, H.J.A., & Mulder, M. (2023). The effects of comprehensive competence-based training on competence development and performance improvement of smallholder farmers: An Ethiopian case study. International Journal of Training and Development (published online November 13).