You cannot copy content of this page

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities () are categories of qualifications and personal attributes that an individual needs in order to effectively perform the duties of a specific job.  Usually, the hiring organization will create a list of as a guideline to help identify the ideal candidates for a position. 

 

KSAs Defined

Knowledge:  factual and procedural information a person has accumulated

Skills:  proficient and effective use of a person’s knowledge and abilities in performance

Abilities:  innate traits or talents that a person possesses

 

About Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge

Knowledge refers to the factual and procedural information a person acquired through education or experience.  It can be obtained from reading reference material, attending a training class, or direct experience. 

Knowledge is the theoretical or practical understanding of a concept or subject.  It can be measured with written or oral exams where a person documents or explains what they know about the topic.   

A person can gain additional knowledge or understanding by applying what they know and learning from that experience.  However, having knowledge of how to do something does not necessarily mean that a person can do it.  A person may have an understanding of a topic and all the steps involved in the process, but have no experience applying it.

Examples of knowledge:

  • workplace safety regulations
  • steps involved in a process
  • what to do in an emergency

 

 

Skills

Skills refer to the proficient and effective use a person’s knowledge and abilities in performance that can be measured in time and precision.  They are the capabilities or proficiencies a person acquires through deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort in order to effectively carryout activities or job functions involving ideas, things, and/or people.  It can be further developed through training and/or hands-on experience.   

Skills can be measured and observed.  A test can be used to measure quantity and quality of performance.  

Examples of skills:

  • typing
  • operating a vehicle or machine
  • programming software

 

Abilities

Abilities are the qualities or attributes of being able to perform an observable activity.   Abilities tend to be innate traits that a person possesses or acquired without formal instructions.  These include areas such as talent and emotional intelligence.  

Abilities are much harder to teach, test, or measure then skills or knowledge.

Examples:  

  • planning and organizing
  • show empathy
  • thinking fast

 

 

 

Difference between Skill and Ability

Abilities are often confused with skills, yet there is a significant difference.  Abilities are natural or intrinsic, while skills are learned behaviors.

Additionally, a skill can be taught, tested, and measured.  However, abilities are a broad term for human capacity that are harder to teach, test, or measure.

 

Example:

Skill – operate a vehicle

Abilities – process information quickly and to react to other drivers

 

Example:

Skill – Cut hair

Ability – keep hand steady

 

 

Interrelationship of KSAs  

Skills are a composite of abilities and knowledge.  Basically, ability and knowledge combine to create skills that can be applied.

Ability + Knowledge = Skill

Skills can be developed and improved over time.  However, the underlying abilities and knowledge are needed in order for the skills to be further developed.


Example:

Skill – shoot a basketball

Knowledge – shooting techniques

Ability – hand eye coordination and ability to jump

 

Example:

Skill – make a cake

Knowledge – ingredients and recipe steps

Ability – to measure and mix ingredients 

 

Additional Links

Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes

Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes and Habits

KASH box

 

 

 

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email