Competency-based learning is an approach to education that focuses on the student’s demonstration of desired learning outcomes as central to the learning process. It is concerned chiefly with a student’s progression through curriculum at their own pace, depth, etc. As competencies are proven, students continue to progress.
Successful models demonstrate that competency-based education (CBE) can fit into existing campus structures, if certain principles are followed:
- The degree reflects robust and valid competencies.
- Students are able to learn at a variable pace and are supported in their learning.
- Effective learning resources are available any time and are reusable.
- Assessments are secure and reliable.
Many experts say that the competency-based Flexible Option aims to be:
- Flexible. No classes, no commutes. No set semesters or study times. The Flexible Option lets you start when you want, the first of any month, and work toward your degree online, on your own time, when and where your schedule allows.
- Personalized. The Flexible Option recognizes and rewards prior learning by giving you the opportunity to pass assessments using knowledge you already have. You study only the material you need to master and never spend time or money revisiting things you already know. In addition, an Academic Success Coach will work with you to customize your learning plan based on your knowledge and goals.
- Self-paced. Take assessments whenever you are ready. Practice first to make sure. As soon as you prove mastery, you receive credit and move on, without having to wait for the next lesson or semester. Move quickly through material you know or take more time if you need it.
- Supportive. Receive personalized mentoring and advising from an Academic Success Coach who will help you prepare for assessments and point you to learning resources you need to succeed, such as textbooks, web pages, and even free online resources offered by other universities.
- Skills-based. You make progress by passing assessments that show you have mastered the skills essential to your degree—not by accumulating credit hours, either in the classroom or online.
- Respected. The Flexible Option builds on the UW System’s reputation for quality and innovation. By measuring and assessing your mastery of competencies, the Flexible Option provides proof to employers that you have the skills and knowledge your field requires.
But, I am wondering, What are the benefits of competency-based education?
By focusing on what someone knows rather than how much time we spend learning, competency-based education put us in charge of our education as never before. No longer are we confined to a rigid set of courses and semester schedules. Instead of working at an instructor’s pace, studying material we may already know, competency-based education makes it possible for us to work at our pace, studying only the things we need to learn.