The Competency Group
Victoria, BC, Canada


The creators of The Competency Group, Bernadette and Terry Allen, had the privilege of working with DACUM pioneers Dr. Donald Glendenning and Larry Coffin, and learning how to apply the system. Although DACUM has evolved over the years, The Competency Group’s approach is rooted in the model. Their influence is described in How The Competency Group Evolved.

DACUM History

The approach became well known because of the pioneering work of Dr. Don Glendenning, founding president of Holland College in Prince Edward Island. Dr Glendenning and his peers adopted the DACUM method for the college’s programs. The DACUM model was based on the work of Robert Adams and the Nova Scotia NewStart Corporation in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

DACUM arose from the need for competency-based training to meet the labour market demand for various trades and occupations in Canada. The competency approach focuses on applying the knowledge and skills learned from the training to the workplace. It measures an individual’s level of competence through a demonstration of performance on the job. DACUM is an acronym for Developing a Curriculum. Its combined approach of evaluation and learning is applicable to a broad range of workplace training.

Key Elements of DACUM

In his unpublished book, DACUM Ed?, Dr. Glendenning cites the key aspects of DACUM as described by Robert Adams:

  • DACUM is a competency profile that can be used as a curriculum outline and an evaluation tool for a training program.
  • DACUM involves an analysis of the skills, knowledge and abilities required for an individual to perform effectively in an occupation.
  • The DACUM method divides an occupation into general areas of competence (GAC). Each GAC is further broken down into its specific skills. These skills are structured individually in small blocks on the DACUM chart. Each skill can serve as an independent goal for the learner.
  • A DACUM chart has a rating scale that evaluates an individual’s achievement of each skill.
  • The DACUM method prescribes self-planning, goal-setting and self-evaluation by the learner.

The Competency Group’s System

Our professionally trained consultants follow the key elements of the DACUM method in competency mapping. We conduct focus groups with expert incumbents engaged in a specific occupation. Through analysis and discussions, a consensus is reached on the general areas of competence, skills and sub-skills that collectively make up that occupation.

Find out more

Read a competency mapping case study.

How we can help

Interested in conducting competency mapping for your organization? Contact us to request a sample competency map.

Download a Sample Competency Map




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