3 ways to bolster competency in higher education

Converting a student’s experience into college credits has proven one of the most complex, oft-discussed issues in higher education

competency-educationCompetency based learning, or CBE, has been pushed by educators and lawmakers who want to increase the number of U.S. degree holders by helping nontraditional students — working adults and military veterans among them — turn their professional experience into college credits.

The focus, these CBE advocates argue, should be on a student’s understanding of a subject, not their time re-learning what they already know.

With competency-based learning — which has gained traction over the past decade — student progress is not necessarily linked to traditional grades, textbook chapters, or even semester time-frames, known as seat time. Competency-based learning is instead based on the mastering of key concepts at a more personalized pace.…Read More

How competency is changing mainstream education

New infographic represents the significant changes education is experiencing due to competency-based learning

badgeresizedI tend to see competency-based courses/alternative credentialing like solar energy: They both sprang from urgent need; they are practical, yet challenge the status quo; and both were technically around long before now.

Believe it or not, solar energy was actually discovered in the late 1800s and had a practical application as a power station that pumped water into the Egyptian desert for crops. It worked, and was hailed as a miracle that could essentially change the entire landscape of arid regions…that is, until WWI broke out and oil was cheap and readily available, nixing solar energy until its revamp in the 1970s when it became more apparent fossil fuels weren’t going to last forever and pollution was becoming a problem.

Like solar energy that was developed earlier than you might have thought, competency-based learning was essentially the apprenticeship of the late middle ages. In apprenticeship, a new generation of practitioners are trained in competencies through a set of skills towards a career. Sound familiar?…Read More

Competency-based learning proving popular

Canvas’ new competency-based gradebook is part of a larger trend toward alternative student assessment

competency-assessments-learningAt a January conference in Washington, D.C., two representatives from Western Governors University claimed that the institution had transitioned from an experiment in competency-based learning to a “proof of concept.”

“We know from that different people learn things at different rates,” Sally Johnstone, vice president for academic advancement at the university, said. “We also know that the same individual may learn different subjects at different rates. We can use competency-based education and online tools to accommodate that. We are no longer in a position where we have to ask all students to do the same thing at the same time at the same pacing.”

With competency-based learning, student progress is not necessarily mapped to traditional grades, textbook chapters, or even, in Western Governor’s case, semester time-frames. Instead, it’s based around the mastering of key concepts, often at a more personalized pace.…Read More

19 leaders emerge in new degree programs

Colleges and universities come together to discuss the future of competency-based degree programs and business models

degree-competency-collegesThe Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) has selected 19 colleges and universities to address shared challenges to designing and developing competency-based degree programs and related business models.

This initial cohort of institutions either offer degree programs with well-defined learning outcomes and rigorous assessment, or are on their way to creating them. The network was established to support institutions that have an interest in accelerating progress on their models and contributing lessons to the field through structured collaboration involving rapid-cycle testing of practices, processes, and concepts.

The movement toward competency-based academic delivery comes as the U.S., to meet social and economic demands for more college graduates, must provide more education options for more students.…Read More