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Competency-based Education (CBE) A Path Forward. Dr. Ross Wirth . IACBE Annual Conference – April 9, 2014. Objectives for Today. What is “competency-based education?” What leading schools are doing

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Competency-based Education (CBE) A Path Forward

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    1. Competency-based Education (CBE)A Path Forward Dr. Ross Wirth IACBE Annual Conference – April 9, 2014

    2. Objectives for Today • What is “competency-based education?” • What leading schools are doing • 3 Basic Approaches – complementary, but potentially confusing if all done at once • Phased CBE Expansion • Course, degree, non-credit, blank sheet

    3. Competency-based Education • CBE can mean – low cost to purposeful design • Recognizing prior learning • At a competency (not course) level (portfolio and/or exams) • Lower cost, self-paced program of study (new modality) • Current assignments, projects, or competency exams • Strengthened learning outcomes • Focus on demonstration of learning • Clear rubrics for evaluating depth of learning • Purposeful curriculum design that is modular and independent of course structure • May include Direct Assessment of competencies

    4. Competency-based Model Students are provided with the • meansto acquire the knowledge and skills • at an individual pace • to demonstrate achievement • of specific competencies • identified as necessary to complete a program and earn a degree or other credential.  Source: US Dept. of Education

    5. Leading Edge Schools

    6. Western Governors University • Started in 1995 with self-paced CBE (no legacy programs) • 6 month enrollment windows, no limit on number of courses • 120 Competencies, but tied to traditional course structure • Advisors, graders, & some Q&A support (MS required) • Note: Advisors are called “faculty” but advise 80-100 students • 40,000 students currently enrolled • Starting to partner with community colleges • Establishing articulation pathways with community colleges along withCBE course development (mostly information technology courses) • Leveraging grants – Ivy Tech (Gates grant) & Sinclair (DoL grant) • $5780/yr– all-you-can-learn 6-month subscription model

    7. Southern New Hampshire Univ. • dbaCollege for America (concept driven by Clay Christensen) • Developed separate from other programs • 120 competencies – direct assessment (no courses) – P/F grading • Working toward grouping competencies into course equivalents • No time restriction for mastery; work on multiple modules at same time • ePortfolio & badge system for demonstrating progress • Advisors & content experts – very data-driven with predictive analytics • Modules also marketed separately to employers (non-credit) • AA in general business studies currently • Coming – BA in communications, with specialties in health care management and business • Breakeven thought to be 5000 students (500 currently) • Target enrollment of 350,000 by 2018 • $2500/year – All-you-can-learn

    8. Kentucky Community & Technical College System • Two self-paced options • Learn-On-Demand – removes dead time in the academic calendar • Direct2Degree – • Carefully designed single-train course sequence (new) - also a good advising model for other modalities - Easy to skip past courses that have been transferred in • Working toward 24x7 faculty support with back-up available • 24 hour turnaround for grading • Learning Resources • Textbook (adaptive learning) fee required in addition to tuition • This fee is proportionally split among all publishers based on “average student use”

    9. Kentucky Community & Technical College System • Monthly subscription to encourage faster progression (25 mo.) • Adaptive learning enables more modules for the subscription fee • 81 modules for AS in General Studies taken individually and organized into courses when all modules for a course are done • 3 to 5 modules per course • Adding Business Admin., Info. Tech., & Nursing • Each module (3-8 weeks) stands alone for credit for stop-outs • 3-levels of competency across one to three courses • Financial Aid options – • semester term (traditional student) • non-term (multiple starts each semester) • no-term monthly subscription (DoEd experimental site)

    10. CBE Approaches

    11. Decision – Learning Resources • Mix (from lowest to highest cost to deliver) • Student Curated thru Directed Search • Leverage existing resources, but fill in gaps through student searching by key words provided • Flipped Classroom using • Existing content in LMS (Blue Quill) • Open Resources (add additional time to ID & vet) • Publisher’s Adaptive Learning platform • Adds to the cost to deliver, but quicker

    12. Decision – CBE Approach Complementary to offer but potentially confusing Students must choose one • 3 approaches to CBE • Additional modality for individual courses • Opportunistic & Quick implementation • Focused, single-train of courses • Intensive with quick response times • Secondary brand (like College for America) • Disruptive, but leverages existing resources

    13. Approach – Decision Criteria • Course-based or Direct Assessment? • Self-paced or within existing modalities? • Time & capital available to develop? • Development approach? • OER, Student Curated, Adaptive Learning? • Types of Assessment? • Separate or aligned with existing courses? • Financial Aid Integration?

    14. Phased Roll-outEnhancement to Concept

    15. Growing the Concept • New Modality – Individual Courses • Self-paced with Support Services • Extend to a full Degree Path • Single Train, Tri-modalities, or 2nd Brand • Content Re-use for non-credit offering • Potential for pathway to credit • Full Competency Mapping • Ultimate Objective for CBE

    16. Learning & Assessment Flow A D A P TIV E FLOW A D A P TIV E FLOW A D A P TIV E FLOW A D A P TIV E FLOW Course Pre-Test Learning Activity Course Post-Test Unit Pre-test • Unit • Post-test Series of Learning Modules Course Complete Exam for credit

    17. Competency-based Education (CBE)A Path Forward

    18. Trade-off Challenge to Avoid CBE requires managing in a way to avoid common trade-offs • Cost lower • Speed quicker • Quality unchanged for academics improved for student support

    19. Mixed Modalities • Offers an alternative to online & F2F • Speed can be increased, but without a reduction in student cost • Fits easily within existing financial aid • Individual courses can be implemented as faculty have time and interest

    20. Single-train Completion • Can be run in parallel with existing financial aid, but without an ability to move back-and-forth between approaches • Students must choose a financial aid plan • Provides a student advising model

    21. New Division - Business Modelsimilar to College for America • Single Train course sequence • Majority of courses common to all degrees • No alternate pathways for elective options • Competency-based, self-paced learning • No-frills, low-cost student pricing • No financial aid, but with provision for adjustment for economic situation

    22. Best Practices • Successful ideas becoming common in CBE programs • Competencies grouped into self-paced courses • Students are challenged at their level of knowledge and progress • Competency report to complement the transcript • All-you-can-learn subscription model (monthly?) • Difficult to integrate with other term based modalities • Single-train course sequence (also an advising model) • Adaptive learning to recognize prior learning (text included) • Authentic assessment • Projects & portfolios • Extensive student support system • Advisors & LMS tracking

    23. Target CBE Student • Working Adult • Prior experience in field of study • Some college, but no degree • Self-starter & able to follow directions • Technology savvy • Information literate

    24. Competency vs. Learning Outcome • Learning Outcomes are defined in terms of • “Particular levels of knowledge, skills, and abilities that a student has attained” • Competencies take this further by • Describing learning outcomes in terms that “describe not only what is to be learned but also the specific levels of performance that students are expected to master” Peter Ewel (2001)

    25. Phase 1 Summary • Self-paced modality • Leverages existing learning resources • Complemented with adaptive learning • Provides a continuum of offerings • Values instructor assistance in learning • Recognizes cost of assessing across different levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy • Meets the challenge of lowering cost to students (if they are qualified learners) • While maintaining quality

    26. Phase 2 Summary • Expands from individual courses to a full degree program • Targets additional self-paced courses • Integrates with existing modalities when students require greater instructor interaction • Expand competencies into assessing higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy • Develop additional exams (100-200 level) and competency-based assignments (300-400 level)

    27. Alternate Assessment • Short essay questions structured around a competency-driven grading rubric • Competency assessed with demonstration of learning • Peer Assessment (progress tracking) • Clearly defined rubric • Calibration exercise prior to peer assessment • Multiple (3-5) peers doing the assessment

    28. Policy Gaps • Pass/Fail grading • Currently no P/F option for Franklin courses • Limit on number of P/F courses accepted? • New compensation model is required • Roles: process advisor, content Q&A, and grader • Unknown degree of student need for help & time required that is likely to vary by course

    29. Phase 3 Summary • Develop a “total needs” curriculum that • Meets the needs of graduating students and employee development by hiring managers • Leverages faculty and LMS content across multiple markets with hooks for up-selling • Includes a pathway to credit that leverages student data for suggestive marketing

    30. Potential Pilot Projects • Entrepreneurship – Seminars and UG Certificate • HRM 701 & SHRM CEUs – CCE seminars • Risk Mgt & Insurance – CCE seminars • Internet Marketing – CCE seminars • Information Analytics – Oracle Certificate • Business Forensics – UG Certificate • Inst Design & Perf Tech – GR Certificate • Turnkey “Corporate University”

    31. Phase 3 gaps to be addressed • Needs closer alignment between credit and non-credit course development & administration • Requires curriculum to be deconstructed into a “business needs” structure • An integrated marketing approach is required • Will need to track competencies separate from Colleague

    32. Phase 4 Summary • Approach Program Outcomes independent from courses (Blank Sheet curriculum development) • Competencies first, then courses as competency groups (for transferability) • Assessment of higher levels of competency built into the course sequence

    33. Two Approaches to Competency Specification • Industry needs, built on academic foundation • Certification focus • Competency Model Clearinghouse (DoL) • Academics, taking into account hiring manager needs • Degree focus • Tuning USA built on Lumina DQP

    34. Existing Competency Frameworks • Franklin’s current Gen. Ed. & Programs • OBR Transfer Module (part of Franklin’s) • Lumina Degree Qualifications Profile • Tuning USA degree specification • Competency Model Clearinghouse (DoL) • Modeled after other schools • Southern New Hampshire University • Western Governors University • Northern Arizona University

    35. Blank-Sheet Program Design • What competencies are required of all graduates? (Gen. Ed. structure is redesigned) • What competencies are specific to established groups of jobs? (Bus. & Prof. Core) • How can the above competencies be structured for delivery within a “course” structure? • How many of the required learning components and assessments already exist? • Direct and/or course-based assessment? • How can articulation be enabled?

    36. Summary Multi-phase Pilot Tests • Self-paced modality for courses • Expand competencies into assessing higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy • Non-credit Integration – multiple pathways to credit • Purposeful curriculum development using competencies across the program

    37. Hip Pocket slides

    38. Kentucky Community & Technical College System • Learning Resources • Textbook (adaptive learning) fee required in addition to tuition • This fee is proportionally split among all publishers based on “average student use” • Learning & Assessment • Credit for prior learning with pre-test passthru to post-test (grade) • Authentic assessment (projects & portfolios) • Student Support • Extra effort made to ensure student engagement • Using for on-demand tutoring, study tools, and study groups (significant impact on learning & retention) • Starfish Retention Solutions for advising (improved retention)

    39. Univ. of Wisconsin system • Flexible Option • Rolling out a three month “all-you-can-learn” term program • Subscription model - $9000/year or $900 per “competency set” • (expected to cover 50% of up-front development expense) • A degree is composed of eight to 15 competency sets • New 3-month “term” begins the first of each month • 1 to 85 student advising ratio • Direct Assessment – no tie to credit hours • Incorporates Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) • Assessed via exams, case study analysis, papers, & portfolio review • $8,000,000 initial funding • Failed to get DoED approval for Federal Financial Aid for roll-out • Moving toward Experimental Site status

    40. Capella University (pilot test) • New self-paced modality developed for a few programs • Four to 10 competencies per course plus “final” assessment • “Direct assessment” of learning, but not really • “open ended” term – DoEd waived rules for financial aid • Limited to students of corporate partners • BS Business Admin. & MBA

    41. UniversityNow • dba Pattern University & New Charter University (not accredited) • 1000 students, mainly in Pattern University • Pattern CBE, online, self-paced • $350/mo. Undergraduate & $520/mo. Graduate • Does not participate in Federal Financial Aid program • Prospective students can sample classes – up to final exam

    42. Southern New Hampshire Univ. • dba College for America cont. • President Paul LeBlanc now spends more time in Washington and at conferences than on campus • 5 year board commitment • $3,500,000 investment last year • Breakeven thought to be 5000 students (500 currently) • Target enrollment of 350,000 by 2018 • Partnering with Kepler University ( to bring low cost ($1000/yr) higher education to Rwanda

    43. Western Governors University • Learning path – student customized • Course pre-assessment of prior learning • Meet with a “personal mentor” to customize a learning path for the course • Mentors are F/T employees who have a graduate degree in field they oversee • Self-paced learning using support material • Competency exam or assessed assignments

    44. Northern Arizona University • Separate from other programs (Pearson adaptive learning) • Design process: existing courses → competencies → independent, interdisciplinary modules → courses for transferability • BS computer information technology & small business admin. • 500 students currently – 8000 in five years to hit breakeven • Considering monthly subscription (currently six months) • No refund once the month starts & financial aid paid at month end • “Competency report” in addition to traditional transcript • Direct assessment of learning • Pre-test to award credit for prior learning • Has had some difficulty with accreditation in a few states • Each learning component supported in multiple ways • Text, video, exercises, etc.

    45. Competency Transcript • In use at Northern Arizona University • Supports direct assessment of competencies • Complements traditional course-based transcript • Courses are composed of separate competencies that are taken individually • Serves as a communication device for student use with potential employers

    46. Direct Assessment • Multi-tier – Northern Arizona University • “competency” is deemed as 86% of “mastery” • Option to go deeper by doing additional assignments that show higher comprehension • More complex application of learning • Student differentiation extends to effort expended • However, this increases the time to develop assessments • Competency Transcript describes competency, type of assessment, and level achieved • Capella and College of America (SNHU) • Non-performance, basic, proficient, and distinguished • “Distinguished” level required at graduate level (Capella)

    47. Cross-institutionDegree Tuning(Competency Alignment) Dr. Ross Wirth

    48. Degree Tuning Tuning is • a collaborative, faculty-driven process that • identifies what a student should know and • be able to do in a chosen discipline • at the completion of a degree by • defining areas of competency • identifying learning outcomes and • scaling competencies and outcomes to a degree level Source: Institute for Evidence-based Change (IEBC)

    49. Tuning • Tuning is faculty-driven, • With input from employers and students • Tuning does not standardize, but • Organizes what is common and accepted • Tuning does not require new curriculum, but • Does offer an opportunity to be more intentional • Tuning focuses on Learning Outcomes, • Not curricula nor method of delivery • Tuning does not all address everything, • Institutional individuality is encouraged

    50. Tuning – definition 2 Tuning, • a faculty-driven response to the Bologna process, is • the process of “harmonizing” • higher education programs and degrees • by defining student learning outcomes • by subject area Source: Tuning Educational Structures USA