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The Competency Group: Our Story

OUR STORY

The Competency Group, formerly Future Learning Inc., is a North American leader in competency-based training development. Helping to build workplace skills for great results, The Competency Group was founded in 1997 by Bernadette Allen, CEO and President.

OUR HISTORY

In 1997, Bernadette created Future Learning Inc. Her vision was to employ progressive technologies to provide alternative learning opportunities. At the time, non-traditional learning methods were becoming widely accepted and e-learning, in all its infancy, was thought of as “cutting edge”. However, much of the emphasis was focused on technology and not on content.

During the early years of operation at Future Learning, Bernadette began to notice a need to develop learning content based on industry norms. She observed that although there were obvious benefits in the advent of new technologies being introduced, there was a failure in the efficiency of the learning content. She saw a benefit in amalgamating and utilizing competency-based training methods, including a DACUM approach, to enhance adult training.

Where did the methodology that drives Future Learning have its roots? Ironically in Charlottetown! In the early 1970’s, Holland College, a community college in Prince Edward Island, was utilizing a relatively new approach to learning. The PEI institution quickly set the world standard for competency-based learning based on outcomes-driven programs using DACUM (Develop A Curriculum) methodology as the foundation for program development. The Holland College method was so innovative that The Ohio State University developed the Center for Education and Training for Employment to advance competency-based learning and DACUM around the world. The Competency Group maintains a relationship with The Ohio State University organization to nurture their skills and co-operate on projects.

To advance the competency-based learning approach and the DACUM methodology, there was a need for consultants who could execute these functions. Bernadette and Terry Allen began to build the Future Learning team. The focus of the team was to develop workplace skills, generate customized strategic plans for innovative adult learning, and create tailor-made curriculum for both traditional and distance learning delivery.

OUR GROWTH

In 2004, Future Learning secured a contract with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) to develop material for, and assist in, the training of all employees of VAC under the New Veterans Charter. With a curriculum development team in Charlottetown and a group of adult educators assisting implementation from VAC, Future Learning successfully fulfilled the contract. As part of this contract, Future Learning’s employee numbers grew from four to fifty with the addition of new analysts, writers, and sub-contracted consultants. Following the completion of this project, Future Learning moved forward into new projects with an expanded workforce.

As Future Learning expanded its role in the adult learning market, the company found a niche with the organizations representing industry sectors who wanted to establish national occupational standards and Essential Skills Profiles. Future Learning completed competency-based projects in industries such as mining, electricity, bio-science, renewable energy, childcare, health and tourism to name just a few. The Future Learning team has travelled to every province and territory in Canada, as well as a number of cities in the United States. The boundaries of business have proven to be unlimited.

Over the last number of years, it has become evident that methodologies in competency-based learning and adult education have replaced the onetime focus on e-learning. Recognizing this paradigm shift, Future Learning will be operating under a new banner – The Competency Group – in 2011. As the name implies, we will continue to hone our expertise in adult education through competency-based learning, as that is the true heart of our business.

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