As more students start college every year, the bill for higher education increases and the demand for accurately measuring their learning ability skyrockets. Accelerating the rate at which a student earns credit towards a degree while still ensuring the quality and legitimacy of the degree is changing how professors approach education and their teaching methods. Prioritizing what to teach and how to teach is inspiring educators to rethink their methods.
Competency-Based Education, otherwise known as CBE, is an approach to education that focuses on giving students the time to achieve mastery of the material before moving on to the next subject at their own pace. Allowing students to learn at their own pace regardless of the environment enables them to learn and achieve mastery using their own methods, producing efficient students and potential workers. The CBE method targets each student’s learning style and assesses the individual competency levels of the material. By filtering out the information the individual already has a mastery off, this leaves only the material that the student needs to focus on before moving to the next topic.
Some advantages of CBE are that it enables the students to improve their efficiency in their learning and allows them to work through the information at their own rate if they need to spend more or less time on a specific topic they are able to do so using the CBE method. By being more flexible in the learning plan and essentially giving control over to the student, CBE has created a new way of learning for the students that the traditional and rigorous method never worked for. However, critics of CBE mention a good point in that the new method eliminates the socializing aspect of education in a classroom and will only worsen the newer generation’s inability to connect with face to face interactions due to their growing dependence on technology when socializing.
The CBE approach can be incorporated into practically any field of study, as CBE focuses on flexibility for the student and the university or college is the deciding factor when determining if competency has been achieved. Any level of education, be it K12 or higher education, can benefit from the CBE approach and many schools, in fact, have already begun the transition from the standard traditional approach to the CBE approach across the nation with varying degrees of success.
The advancement of technology is changing how business and education can be done. Classes can now be taught online any place at any time, the way classes are taught also needs to adapt to these changes and take advantage of them for institutions to reach as many students as possible. Time and location no longer are serving as constraints and universities can now use these as advantages for as many students as possible to earn quality degrees.
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Photo Courtesy of: Steven Brewer