Learning Outcomes, Knowledge, Skills, and Competence

… concepts in Education Policy

KnowDoConcept definitions by the European Council

In its 2008 recommendation on the establishment of the European Qualification Framework for lifelong learning, the Council of the European Parliament, included the following definitions:

Learning outcomes means statements of what a learner knows, understands and is able to do on completion of a learning process, which are defined in terms of knowledge, skills and competence.

Knowledge means the outcome of the assimilation of information through learning. Knowledge is the body of facts, principles, theories and practices that is related to a field of work or study. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework, knowledge is described as theoretical and/or factual.

Skills means the ability to apply knowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework, skills are described as cognitive (involving the use of logical, intuitive and creative thinking) or practical (involving manual dexterity and the use of methods, materials, tools and instruments).

Competence means the proven ability to use knowledge, skills and personal, social and/or methodological abilities, in work or study situations and in professional and personal development. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework, competence is described in terms of responsibility and autonomy.


Annex I to RECOMMENDATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 April 2008 on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning, at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32008H0506(01)&from=EN, accessed 12 January 2016.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 12 January 2016.

Image: Getting Smart, at http://gettingsmart.com/2015/11/what-the-story-of-asdiwal-can-teach-us-about-competency-based-education/, accessed 12 January 2016.