The term competencies covers the knowledge, the cognitive and practical skills and the attitudes (including motivation) needed to meet demands or carry out tasks successfully.3 Competencies are used in combinations (generic and specific) in particular contexts.
Internationally, there is general agreement that language, literacy and numeracy competencies are foundation competencies, which underpin the learning and performance of all other generic competencies (for example, the ability to work co-operatively) as well as of specialised skills needed in home, work, educational and social settings.
The learning progressions have been developed in seven strands that reflect the key competencies of listening, speaking, reading, writing and numeracy. Each strand is made up of progressions that together describe the development of expertise within the strand.
As with other models that describe learning pathways,4 the learning progressions have been developed as a set of continuums. Each continuum describes how adult learners build their expertise, with each step along the continuum representing a significant learning development.
The learning progressions also reflect the cumulative nature of learning – an adult learner may start at different places along the different continuums and all adult learners build on and extend their existing knowledge and skills.