Standard Active Last Updated: Nov 28, 2023 Track Document
ASTM E3416-23

Standard Practice for Competency-based Workplace Learning Programs

Standard Practice for Competency-based Workplace Learning Programs E3416-23 ASTM|E3416-23|en-US Standard Practice for Competency-based Workplace Learning Programs Standard new BOS Vol. 14.02 Committee E36
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Significance and Use

4.1 Today’s labor shortages demand competency-based workplace learning (CWL) programs that are validated by industry. A standard practice relative to CWL programs formalizes this important type of skill-based, workforce preparation by offering industry a framework for success. CWL programs that result in a credential increase the total number of individuals holding credentials, allowing for worker advancement (upskilling and reskilling), portability, and a talent pipeline of highly skilled workers for the employer.

4.2 This standard practice will have a positive impact on worker-learners from various populations, generally those who develop their skills while working on the job and will streamline the process for employers transitioning employees to in-demand, high-quality employment opportunities, allowing for more sustainable economic mobility.

4.3 CWL programs offer learning opportunities for individuals seeking skills that may not be attained in a traditional classroom. For workers, CWL programs are designed to provide new job skills, hands-on training experiences, and interaction with individuals with expertise in the occupation as facilitators in the learning and assessment processes. For employers, CWL programs are designed to provide a pipeline of skilled talent to meet specific industry needs.

4.4 While CWL programs have attributes in common with other credentialing programs, such as certification and certificate programs, they are a distinct credentialing program type. All three programs have a summative assessment component. Certificate programs and CWL programs have a learning component aligned with its assessment, while certification does not. Of these credentialing programs, only CWL programs have formative assessments as a specified assessment method and experiential learning as a specified learning method. Lastly, unique to CWL programs is that they must be implemented in a real or simulated workplace setting. These last three attributes are allowable but optional in certificate programs.

4.5 While CWL programs are a distinct program type, both certificate programs and certification programs can be (1) a pre-requisite to admittance to a CWL program, (2) earned as part of a CWL program, or (3) earned through an external entity while enrolled in a CWL program.

4.6 This standard practice will provide the foundation for the self-attestation, recognition, or accreditation of a specific entity to develop and administer a CWL program.


1.1 This standard practice provides instruction to entities for developing and administering competency-based workplace learning (CWL) programs.

1.2 This standard practice provides guidance to stakeholders in determining the quality of CWL programs.

1.3 This standard practice does not contain instructions or guidance pertaining to certification of persons, certificate programs, or education or training programs in general, including those that issue certificates of participation or certificates of attendance.

1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.5 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 14.02
Developed by Subcommittee: E36.30
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.1520/E3416-23
ICS Code: 03.100.30