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Aurora Institute

What’s New in Competency-Based Higher Education?

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Natalie Slocum

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, Learn Lessons from the Field

What's new! star graphicExpansion of CBE in Higher Education Programs

  • Queen’s University’s medical program in Canada will become the first in North America to make the change to competency-based medical education.
  • Southern New Hampshire University announced a new Workforce Partnership Team to work with partners (employers, nonprofits, the public sector, and more) to meet students where they are with educational opportunities suited to their needs.

New Resources and Reports

The University of Wisconsin Flexible Option released a new case study website as a resource for other institutions looking to develop competency-based programs. It includes tough decisions and helpful resources in six key areas:

  • Academics: Faculty and curriculum development and factors influencing program offerings and quality
  • Budget: Business model, funding sources, and factors critical to success
  • Communications: Building stakeholder relationships
  • Enrollment Management and Technology: Student services and back-office operations
  • Metrics: Defining and measuring student and program success
  • Policy: Policies impacting direct assessment CBE models

New reports include:

New report findings include:

  • Education Dive reports that recent surveys of higher education highlight a dramatic shift in the ‘typical college student’ over the past ten years, with colleges now enrolling older students on non-traditional pathways, calling for IHE to adapt to the changing demographics through competency-based education programs.
  • A recent report found that colleges could earn about $1 million annually if they increased student retention. This article points to the benefits of adopting new strategies and using data analytics to provide better student experiences while boosting graduation rates.
  • A report for the Australian Skills Quality Authority found that” in competency-based training systems there are still circumstances in which mandating duration is seen as necessary as one means of regulating quality.”


  • EdSurge columnist Michelle Weise calls for colleges to work together to build competencies of the future.
  • American Action Form provides a cost benefit analysis of the Experimental Sites Initiative.
  • This Education Next article looks at learning and assessment at Western Governors University.
  • This article discusses how accelerated learning in higher education programs can meet the unique needs of students looking to earn credentials quickly and potentially at lower costs.

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