Many colleges, particularly community colleges, view competency-based education (CBE) programs as a way to improve learning opportunities while lowering costs for students. One problem has been finding ways to use CBE programs in an environment dominated by the use of credit hours to reward student achievement.
The solution may lie in an integrated and transparent competency management framework, according to a report from Tyton Partners. The report, Evidence of Learning: The Case for an Integrated Competency Management System, found that colleges and universities should focus on ways that allow students to reach college and career goals and that knowledge, skills, and experience an individual achieves during their lifetime should be part of the process.
“As the bridge between students and the workforce, postsecondary institutions are uniquely positioned to find and deliver the best tools and resources to capture and communicate evidence of learning,” Adam Newman, co-founder and managing partner at Tyton said in an article for eCampus News. “Colleges and universities must rise to this opportunity or risk erosion of a core value proposition in linking learning and employment and lifelong development.”
The way to begin, according to the report, is for institutions and business to work together to provide students the skills that employers need. Colleges and business must also find ways to award proper credit for accumulated skills and maintain files to record that progress.
There should be ways for students to promote the skills they have already accumulated, along with access to feedback, coaching tools, and services so they can see how they are progressing. Schools need ways to evaluate that progress and employers must be willing to provide feedback to the institutions so they can adequately prepare their students.
“There’s no quick fix to this,” Newman said. “Institutions need to think internally about how connected their own departments are to one another in order to provide an effective learning experience and about whether or not outside experiences are valued. That’s the first wave of this: Institution-centric discussion.”