There is a growing interest in the concept of 'competence learning' in various areas of education, training and professional development. Competences are commonly assumed to represent more than the levels of knowledge and skills and to account for the effective application of available knowledge and skills in a specific context. But, with this trend, the term 'competence' is being used in many different ways. How are competencies thought to relate to knowledge, skills and attitudes, and what meaning and validity do various claims about competences have? The competence concept is quite troublesome, and it is argued that the term has no significance beyond that which is associated with the term 'skills'.