Experts offer new resources for competency-based education

EDUCAUSE panel talks CBE definition; keys to success

CBE-competency-EDUCAUSECompetency-based education (CBE) is making the rounds in higher education as colleges and universities eager to explore alternative pathways discuss the model’s potential. However, many initiatives have already laid extensive groundwork, offering multiple resources covering everything from CBE’s basic definition to implementation best practices.

According to Michael Offerman of Offerman Consulting, during an EDUCAUSE 2014 panel, a number of national initiatives dedicated specifically to CBE have partnered together to provide as many diverse resources as possible for institutions ranging from the simply curious to those in final implementation stages.

“In 2012, there were about 20 schools considering CBE, then the U.S. Department of Education became interested, which lead to interest and support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; this is when the CBE initiative really became scalable, ultimately leading to this year’s creation of C-BEN, the Competency-Based Education Network,” explained Offerman.

According to Offerman, there now seems to be a CBE initiative fatigue, which he attributed to a lack of clarity in defining CBE.

“It was important for C-BEN to partner with other initiatives like CAEL’s Jumpstart program, the EDUCAUSE Breakthrough Models Incubator, and Western Governor University’s (WGU) CBE collaboration with community colleges because we wanted to present a single, comprehensive definition of exactly what CBE does for higher education,” he said.

(Next page: Defining CBE; lessons learned)

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