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Aurora Institute

What’s New in Competency Education in Higher Education

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Chris Sturgis

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

iNCL_CW_logo_higherEdFederal Guidance: Ed Dept issues competency-based education guidance discusses letter from US Department of Education with guidelines on direct assessment and competency-based programs. (Education Dive 12/22/14)

Beyond Courses: Educators in higher education might find the series on Chugach School District interesting as they have organized their learning structure into into ten domains with standards driving the learning rather than the traditional course structure.  

Putting it All Together: Education Dive reports that Brandman University is offering badges in its online competency-based programs.

Predictions: There were lots of predictions that competency-based education will continue to expand in higher education:

  • NPR’s list of predictions for education included Tony Friscia, President and CEO of Edventures prediction that Competency-Based Education Picks Up: Competency-based direct assessment will pick up steam. While most of these programs will also be offered wholly or mostly online and primarily for working adults, a number of competency-based models designed for traditional-age students will also turn heads and reinvigorate longstanding debates about the necessity of more practically focused delivery models.
  • John Ebersole’s predictions in Forbes also included competency education: Competency-Based Education (CBE). Unlike MOOCS, CBE – which leverages and builds on what an individual already knows – will not quickly fade. Still many questions to be resolved: What is it, who wants it, and who benefits? While CBE holds incredible promise, higher ed and employers must come together on common standards. The Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) has made a start but much remains to be done.
  • New American Foundation included competency education in their predictions: The growth  of competency-based degree and certificate programs will continue to highlight the need for developing policies that to support and ensure their quality.