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ERIC Number: ED546830
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-May
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
All Hands on Deck: Ten Lessons from Early Adopters of Competency-Based Education
Book, Patricia A.
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
The perceived value of postsecondary education to economic competitiveness and individual success is driving innovation in higher education. Competency-based education (CBE) is the latest disruption that seeks to respond to the growing sense of national urgency to boost education attainment. The target audience generally includes those adult learners with some college but no degree already participating in the workforce. Competency-based education also seeks to create greater transparency in learning outcomes to show how well individuals can apply identified competencies in the work-world. Yet, competency-based education is hard to understand and communicate. For those educators who are thinking about initiating competency-based education programs on their campuses, you need to know what others have learned in the process of designing CBE programs and the kinds of questions you should ask yourself at the outset. We provide a snapshot of seven competency-based postsecondary programs and draw from their pioneering work to better understand how CBE programs can be developed. Program eligibility for federal financial aid appears to be one of the key factors in defining these programs as either course-based with credit equivalency or direct assessment. We review attempts at overall definitions of competency-based education highlighting the higher order level of competency, or mastery, in CBE approaches. We then provide ten lessons practitioners have learned in the design of competency-based education based on interviews, websites, communications, presentations, and other resources. These include lessons related to administration, faculty and student support, data systems, choice of model, business model, and structure. This brief review led us to pose a number of questions to consider for further discussion. Competency-based education provides yet another alternative pathway to degree success, yet it is impossible to overestimate the challenges in designing and implementing a CBE program given that virtually everything has to be reconsidered in the design process.
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. P.O. Box 9752, Boulder, CO 80301-9752. Tel: 303-541-0200; Fax: 303-541-0291; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: WCET (WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies)
Identifiers - Location: Arizona; Kentucky; New Hampshire; Texas; Wisconsin
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A