5 steps to help CBE topple the credit hour

New report details a framework that could help bring a unified system of competency-based education (CBE) across institutions seeking to act as a stronger bridge between students and employers.

competency-framework-helpColleges and universities weary of the barriers currently associated with the credit hour may find an alternative CBE solution within a new framework.

The adoption of competency-based programs has become increasingly appealing to higher education institutions, as CBE, done right, could provide better learning opportunity’s for today’s students and their bank accounts.

However, though a recent high-profile report from the Carnegie Foundation criticized the credit hour system for hindering innovation in higher education, and some early competency-based education programs have proven successful, the credit hour is so ingrained for most higher education institutions that it has proven highly difficult to make such a radical transition; especially since an implementation strategy for how CBE could work as a total replacement of the credit hour is fairly non-existent.

Yet, a new report released by Tyton Partners in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, titled “Evidence of Learning: The Case for an Integrated Competency Management System” proposes an integrated and transparent competency management framework.

The report stresses that institutions honor a student’s “Evidence of Learning,” or the body of knowledge, skills, and experience achieved through informal activities that an individual accumulates and validates during their lifetime.

“As the bridge between students and the workforce, postsecondary institutions are uniquely positioned to find and deliver the best tools and resources to capture and communicate Evidence of Learning,” said Adam Newman, co-founder and managing partner at Tyton. “Colleges and universities must rise to this opportunity or risk erosion of a core value proposition in linking learning and employment and lifelong development.”

The report also identifies gaps that deter alignment of processes and systems, and aims to help college and university leaders link disconnected solutions to better serve their own needs, the needs of students, and the needs of employers.

The report ultimately calls for colleges and universities to take an active role in developing a more transparent and aligned system that enables students to fulfill their college and career goals.

“Establishing this framework needs to be a combined effort from the whole institution; faculty, centers of student learning and advising, IT & systems management and beyond all need to be involved,” Newman said.

(Next page: 5 building blocks to a CBE credentialing system)