ERIC Number: EJ1094819
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Experience Matters: Why Competency-Based Education Will Not Replace Seat Time
Neem, Johann N.
Liberal Education, v99 n4 Fall 2013
Competency-based education works by identifying the specific things that someone needs to be able to learn and to do in order to earn a degree (or pass a course), and then allows students to move forward as soon as they have demonstrated that they have mastered the expectations. Prior leaning seeks to reward students--especially older students--for work and other forms of experience that can be parlayed into academic credit. Perhaps such an approach makes sense for those vocational fields in which knowing the material is the only important outcome, where the skills are easily identified, and where the primary goal is certification. But in other fields--the liberal arts and sciences, but also many of the professions--this approach simply does not work. Instead, for most students, the experience of being in a physical classroom on a campus with other students and faculty remains vital to what it means to get a college education. The goal of a liberal education is to transform a person by offering him or her serious and diverse intellectual experiences. A good liberal arts education is not just about learning to write well or to think critically, or any other specific outcome or competency. Instead, it is also about putting students into contexts in which they are exposed to new ideas, asked to chew on them, and to talk or write about them. The reasons why competency-based education will not replace seat time are presented in this article, along with a discussion on what makes a good liberal arts education.
Descriptors: Competency Based Education, Teaching Methods, Liberal Arts, Environmental Influences, Higher Education, Student Development, Context Effect, Competence, Role of Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
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