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Competency-based training: who benefits?
  1. Alexandra Brightwell1,
  2. Janet Grant2,3
  1. 1London School of Paediatrics, London Deanery, London, UK
  2. 2Centre for Education in Medicine, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  3. 3University College London Medical School, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alexandra Brightwell, London School of Paediatrics, London Deanery, London, UK; alex.brightwell{at}


Competency based training describes progression through training referenced to the demonstrated ability to perform certain tasks. In recent years, this has become the dominant curriculum model. We seek to examine who benefits from a competency based approach to medical education. For the regulators and service, the apparent advantage is in terms of apparent measurable accountability and flexibility. For assessors, the promise of competence based assessments in the workplace to provide a reliable and objective measurement of a trainee's performance has not been demonstrated in practice. For the doctor in training, there is very little evidence to show benefit from competency based training. Competency based training places emphasis on individual skills rather than overall learning experience thus risks diminishing the role of the trainee in the workplace. Any form of medical education that devalues workplace based learning will ultimately harm the profession and, in turn, patient care.

  • Medical Education & Training
  • competency-based education
  • professional practice
  • curriculum

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