What are the Instructor Competencies for Face-to-Face, Online, and Blended Settings? (2021 Update)

Instructor Competencies

What does it take to be a competent instructor? That question has been asked a multitude of times and today’s perspective takes into consideration the face-to-face environments that most instructors and facilitators know (the physical classroom and on-the-job training scenarios), virtual facilitated (synchronous) learning, and blended settings.

Validating Instructor Competencies

Competence is the ability of an individual to do a job successfully and efficiently. Great work developing and validating instructor competencies has been done by the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction (IBSTPI). These competencies also match well with competency models developed by the Institute for Performance and Learning (I4PL) and the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

IBSTPI refreshes the competencies on a regular basis. This is done by a project group and then validated by focus groups of the target audience, academics, and industry individuals. Friesen, Kaye and Associates (FKA) has been a long time partner and works with IBSTPI to update the competency sets. In 2021 the latest competencies were published.

Why Competencies:

Why Instructor Competencies?

Competencies are useful reference points for instructors to compare themselves to a model which helps identify areas of strength and areas for improvement and development. The identification of these gaps can become the focus for individual learning and performance improvement plans.

FKA is a thought-leader in workplace learning and performance. We are recognized for excellence as a trusted learning partner for our Train-the-Trainer programs. Our delivery programs which include Instructional Techniques; Advanced Facilitation Skills for Instructors; Instructional Techniques for the Virtual Classroom; and Instructional Techniques for On-the-Job Training are all based on the instructor competencies identified by IBSTPI, as well as work by ATD and I4PL. Our course materials are updated to represent the latest set.

There are five general domains which include 19 instructor competencies, supported by 172 performance statements.


  1. Professional Foundations
  2. Designing for Learning
  3. Facilitating Learning
  4. Evaluate Learning

A closer look at each domain identifies the specific instructor competencies. A competency is a set of defined behaviors that provide a structured guide enabling the identification, evaluation and behaviors of the individual, in this case, instructors.

Professional Foundations

1. Communicate effectively.
2. Improve instructor practices.
3. Respond to situational factors that may impact learning and performance.
4. Comply with established ethical and legal standards.
5. Establish and maintain professionalism.
6. Manage Instructional resources.

Designing for Learning

7. Specify expected learning.
8. Plan instructional and learning approach.
9. Plan instructional resources.

10. Prepare for instructional and learning activities.
11. Prepare assessment and feedback.

Facilitating Learning

12. Engage learners.
13. Adapt instruction to learners and learning environment.
14. Promote learning through feedback.
15. Promote retention of knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
16. Promote the transfer of knowledge, skills, and attitudes to other contexts.
17. Apply classroom management principles.

Evaluate Learning

18. Plan and prepare for monitoring and evaluating instruction.
19. Evaluate instructional effectiveness.

Each of the 19 competencies identified are supported by 7-13 performance statements that address the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are relevant to the demonstration of that instructor competency.

For example:

Competency 1: Communicate effectively

1.1 Express oneself clearly

1.2 Ensure consistency and coherence of messages across all communications

1.3 Communicate systematically

1.4 Use respectful language

1.5 Communicate with sensitivity to cultural differences

1.6 Use a combination of offline and online means of communication

1.7 Use technology features appropriately to communicate in respectful ways

1.8 Ensure consistency and coherence of messages across online and offline communications

1.9 Use online means to communicate

1.10 Ensure respectful interactions in online synchronous and asynchronous communications

1.11 Ensure consistency and coherence of messages across synchronous and asynchronous communications

1.12 Ensure timely synchronous and asynchronous exchanges

1.13 Adopt a cultural communication perspective

For a full list of performance statements for each of the 19 Instructor competencies, please contact fka@fka.com.

For more information on FKA’s delivery programs, visit our website https://www.fka.com/workshops/#deliver

FKA PresidentSean Rea