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How Collaboration Can Win the Day for Competency-Based Education

Posted by Brian Sorenson on Aug 16, 2017 10:10:39 AM

Topics: Competency Based Education (CBE), Partnerships

Since its founding 43 years ago, CAEL has advocated for solutions to link learning and work. As the concept of the knowledge economy (PDF) increasingly motivates higher ed institutions and employers to innovate learning opportunities, colleges and universities are implementing solutions that get at the heart of this relationship between higher education and the workforce.

As a recent EdSurge article notes, while these institutions are increasingly employing competency-based programming to meet the demands of today’s evolving knowledge economy, they’re often developed and implemented within siloes.

The article suggests that the competencies institutions create are often analogous to those made at other institutions, effectively putting forth interchangeable competencies that nevertheless lack “meaning across institutional, state, or employer boundaries.” This, the article contends, can be attributed to institutions’ reticence to work collaboratively for fear of revealing competitive advantages.

Divorced from the benefits of collaboration, these programs are less successful in helping students effectively demonstrate their abilities and mastery of the knowledge needed for today’s jobs. As the article asserts:

“In this particular case, we mistakenly view the creation of these discrete competencies as proprietary data. Although [CBE] is a different approach to teaching and learning, there is no secret sauce to breaking down learning into competencies. We should all be able to create clear and precise can-do statements like: this student can create a research-based argument; this student can use appropriate mathematical formulas to inform financial decisions; this student can speak effectively in order to persuade or motivate; this student can apply financial principles to solve business problems; this student can write memos by evaluating seemingly unrelated pieces of information; or this student can create and explain big data results using data mining skills and advanced modeling techniques.”

It’s no secret that the nature of today’s workforce is changing at a rapid pace. While it’s encouraging to see institutions innovate their curricula to respond to the education needs this change presents, as the article suggests, students, higher ed institutions and employers all stand to benefit from collaboration.

To read the full article from EdSurge, click here.

As a longtime advocate for CBE, CAEL has worked with institutions nationwide to ensure that their offerings are suited to provide students with competencies that are transferrable to employers. Read CAEL’s free ebook, “Giving CBE a Jumpstart: Stories of Institutional Progress on CBE from the Jumpstart Initiative” at the link below to learn more about CBE best practices.

 

Giving CBE a Jumpstart