Will Competency-Based Education displace the college degree? 2015 BC Conference on Learning Technologies February 5, 2015 Presentation by: Dean Florez Past Senate Majority Leader Member, CA Higher Education Innovation Awards Slide Content Creation Collaboration: A. Sasha Thackaberry District Director, eLearning TechnologiesCuyahoga Community College Office of eLearning and Innovation 2 events: 1 possible outcome 1. College and University Chief Academic Officers Study: only 11 percent of business leaders—compared to 96 percent of chief academic officers—believe that college graduates have the requisite skills necessary for the workforce. 2. An expansion of the educational technology sector promoting these offerings centered learning tools geared toward the realization of creditable outcomes and demonstrable competencies. The collision of these two events—technology’s ability and promise to bridge the skills gap, commingled with higher education institutions’ aloof unawareness or inattention to any perceived gap—forms the underlying basis for higher education innovation in 2015. What is Competency-Based Education? • Competency-based education is based on the concept that learners can demonstrate what they’ve learned to obtain credentials, instead of earning credentials (primarily college credit) through “seat time” based on the credit hour and is therefore selfpaced. • It is modular, and often (though not always) involves elements such as Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), partnerships with employers, subscription-based funding, and student success coaching. The Differences CBE allows students to work at their own pace, flexibly through the content. This can result in a shortened time to graduation. Benefits of Competency-Based Education • Shortened time to degree • Less costly for student • Get to higher level content sooner • Flexible • Online, largely asynchronous • Usually accompanied by support Institutions You Need to Know Competency-Based Education Network (CBEN) Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) WHO IS IN THE CBE SPACE? Colleges and Universities Engaging in CBE Western Governors’ University • This online university uses competency-based degree programs that map to credit hours. Their cost model is subscription-based, and students can accelerate their degree program. • http://www.wgu.edu/about_WGU/ov erview “Flexible Option” at University of Wisconsin System • The Flexible Option provides selfpaced, competency-based degrees and certificates that let learners work at their own course, including PLA, military experience, and other noncredentialed learning. Academic success coaches support students’ progress. • http://flex.wisconsin.edu/uw-flex/ “Personalized Learning” Northern Arizona University • Personalized Learning enables students to transfer credit in and leverage a subscription model to accelerate their online degree. Students can use PLA and also interact with NAU faculty mentors. • http://pl.nau.edu/ College for America (Southern New Hampshire University) • College for America is an initiative by the nonprofit Southern New Hampshire University that works in partnership with employers through competency-based learning in the form of project-based learning with the support of Learning Coaches. • http://collegeforamerica.org/ Capella University • Capella markets their degrees as wholly competency-based, t • Currently, the majority of those degrees map to credit hours. • Their new competency-based degrees have set “proficiency levels.” • http://www.capella.edu/about/compe tency-based-education/ “Learn on Demand” at Kentucky Community & Technical College System • Learn on Demand is a modular, anytime/anywhere learning option which is competency-based. • Students can test out of modules. • Students pay only for modules that they take. • It was developed 5 years ago in response the needs of nontraditional learners. • http://learnondemand.kctcs.edu/Abo ut Pennsylvania Community Colleges: College Credit Fast Track Program • College Credit Fast Track is dedicated to assisting current and prospective students in obtaining college credit at one of Pennsylvania’s Community Colleges based on prior work or life experience. • Credit can be awarded for knowledge gained while living your life… whether it be by working, participating in employer sponsored training programs, military service, independent study, community service, volunteering or even completing open source courseware. • PLA Consortium: The Pennsylvania Consortium on Prior Learning Assessment A BRIEF HISTORY OF COMPETENCY-BASED LEARNING It’s actually nothing new. The Carnegie Unit • Carnegie Units never intended to measure student learning. • Originally to measure faculty workload and pension eligibility. • Credit hours are now basic building block of degrees. • Used for federal financial aid. Credit For Actually Learning—Not Time In Class—Is Shaking Up Higher Education Does anybody really believe that counting instructional hours as a prerequisite for learning is rational and sustainable in the Internet era? Educators do facilely acknowledge that students learn at different paces—yet our higher education institutions continue to measure learning in credit hours and instinctively choose uniformity over diverse learning delivery methods. Trade Certifications and CBE • Trade groups and professional organizations have used certifications and skill-based credentials • Higher education is looking at CBE in response to: • • • • Graduates with inconsistent skill sets Accelerate degree completion Changing demographic of college students Formalized CBE in the US from early 1970s. CBE 2005 - 2013 • Higher Education Act of 2005 enabled colleges to offer competency-based degrees as long as they were mapped directly to credit hours • 2013 the USDOE provided guidance as to how to do this • In 2013 DOE enabled 2 experimental sites to use federal financial aid for competency-based degree bearing programs: Capella University and College for America. Getting “THE CREDIT”: Other Ways • What are other ways to earn college credit based on my work or life experience? • Standard Exams • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) • You may receive college credit if you have achieved at least a mean (average) score on any College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam. Learn more about CLEP testing opportunities from your community college. • Advanced Placement (AP) • If you took college-level courses in high school, or gained educational experience from other sources, you may be able to take an Advanced Placement examination and receive AP credit as long as you earn a score of 3 or higher to receive your degree. Learn more about AP Credit at your community college. • Other standard exams used by colleges to evaluate prior learning include DSST (DANTES), NYU Language Exams, Excelsior, and ACTPEP. Check with your advisor to see if one of these is right for you. Expanding Federal Aid for CBE • In July of 2014, the USDOE announced plans to expand experimental sites for colleges and universities wishing to explore competency-based education Four Focus Areas: 1. “Traditional” CBE 2. Hybrid models with combination of regular “credits” and CBE 3. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) 4. Federal aid for work study students in near-peer counseling Higher Education Implications • Increased $ investment in online learning infrastructures • Discussions about student success coaches, role of case management of student learning • Proctoring/authentication infrastructure • ePortfolio analysis processes • Increased use of adaptive learning technology, big data, predictive analytics • Increase in “exit funding” as opposed to paying upfront for credits Connections to PLA, Digital Badges, Microcredentialing, OER, MOOCs and More Expect a competency-based framework to drive innovation • Higher education innovations will continue to modernize learning; challenge, and append, higher education’s legacy systems. • Each innovation will effectively demonstrate an ability to break the constraints of the “course” with next-generation online platforms that support stackable, competency-based educational outcomes that employers value. Digital Badges • A digital badge is a virtual and visual representation of a competency, skill, achievement, or membership. • Digital badges can be verified by the issuing organization, and used as micro-credentialing for lifelong learning and workforce skill development. MOOCs • Massive, Open, Online Courses • Free, can enroll tens of thousands of students • Online (though blended/hybrid models are being used more frequently) • Courses, not just resources • Two primary kinds: • xMOOCs • cMOOCs DOCS: Digital Open Courses at Scale. • Open Educational Resources (OER) • “Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation” • from the UNESCO website: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-andinformation/access-to-knowledge/open-educationalresources/what-are-open-educational-resources-oers/ Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) • Obtain credit for existing competencies • Often from work, military, or lifelong learning • Most frequently conducted via: • • 1) Direct Assessment 2) ePortfolios What Do You Think? • Today, do skills matter more than how or where they were acquired? • Will ed-tech innovators are create Internet-driven online educational programs aimed at solving a growing skills-gap deficit before colleges get it? • Who can provide a more affordable and measurable path to competencies that bring value to employers and to students looking to justify their costly diplomas?