Competency-based education continues to be a hot topic in the news. Harvard Business Review recently mentioned UW Flexible Option and other trailblazing competency-based programs in “The Real Revolution in Online Education Isn’t MOOCs” on its HBR Blog Network.
The article focuses on returning adult learners looking for an “affordable, accessible, targeted, and high-quality” education to get ahead in their careers, and why businesses should pay close attention to the transformation happening in higher education.
…there is a new wave of online competency-based learning providers that has absolutely nothing to do with offering free, massive, or open courses. In fact, they’re not even building courses per se, but creating a whole new architecture of learning that has serious implications for businesses and organizations around the world.
It’s called online competency-based education, and it’s going to revolutionize the workforce.
According to Harvard Business Review, only 11% of business leaders believe students graduate with the skills they need to enter the workforce. And a college transcript can only tell an employer so much—the grade a student earned and how long he or she sat in a class. What it doesn’t reveal is how much a job candidate knows or can do.
Competency-based learning flips this on its head and centers on mastery of a subject regardless of the time it takes to get there. A student cannot move on until demonstrating fluency in each competency. As a result, an employer can rest assured that when a student can use mathematical formulas to make financial decisions; the student has mastered that competency. Learning is fixed, and time is variable.
Because competency-based programs do not use time to measure educational achievement, students can progress through the material at their own pace, whenever and wherever they like. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Competency-based education also takes preexisting skills and knowledge into account—students can use past experience to advance more quickly through their programs.
This flexible, more personalized approach to education is tailor-made for many adult learners—especially those with full schedules—and it can save them a lot of time and money.
For working adults who are looking to skill-up, the advantages are obvious. These programs are already priced comparable to, or lower than, community colleges, and most offer simple subscription models so students can pay a flat rate and complete as many competencies as they wish in a set time period. Instead of having to sit for 16 weeks in a single course, a student could potentially accelerate through a year’s worth of learning in that same time.
We could go on about the advantages of competency-based education, or you can read the full article at HBR Blog Network.