Competency Based Education 101

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Almost daily, we are hearing about another major university launching an official Competency Based Education (CBE) program. Just today, American Public University System announced Momentum, which is their CBE program geared towards working adults. APUS is one school in a long line of institutions addressing the growing challenge of rising costs, need for flexibility, and embracing the non-traditional educational path.

According to a recent article published by Educause, there are still some questions about the cost effectiveness of the Competency Based Education model. The truth is it may be too early to know since to date, no one has completed a full affordability study. One thing has proven to be universal regarding CBE and that is for whom the programs are geared. Consistently, working adults who have gained real life education from working in their respective fields, are the best candidates for CBE programs.

However, it is critical to keep in mind that just because someone may qualify to participate in a CBE program due to their real-life experiences, it does not mean they are the best candidate for such. CBE programs require a particular skill set that will aid the student in required assignments, competency based education
many of which are self-directed. Outlined in a LinkedIn post, providing a CBE assessment that measures readiness to learn in such an environment is important. Schools must be selective as they offer this option to students to help set them up for success. Not as a gatekeeper or roadblock, CBE should be a bridge to help those get a degree who have clearly put in the time and obtained the knowledge. Success stories of how CBE is changing lives continue to surface. It is a joy to witness yet another educational evolution which is a sign that educators are continuing to embrace alternative models of learning and obtaining degrees.

Experts leading in the space like Dr. Michelle Soler from University of North Carolina, continue to bring attention to the challenges CBE presents. In the meantime, forging ahead to increase education about the right way to do this type of program. Join us this month as we continue to investigate and address the financial aid dilemma presented by CBE, importance of measuring readiness, what accrediting bodies have to say about it and what schools should know before diving in.

 

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