Support for competency-based education gaining momentum in Australia

It was great to see a discussion of competency-based education in The Australian Higher Education supplement this week. It mentions that this is a real disruption to the higher education system. The focus is on outputs (demonstrating competency) and not on inputs (the amount of hours a student is in class). It acknowledges that students are different (is learner focused) and has a heavy emphasis on rigorous assessment. We agree totally! This competency-based approach is at the heart of our venture.

We particularly like the last quote “CBE is a disrupter to the industry, but not in the way MOOCs was proclaimed to be. This new approach to higher education is a model that can help universities cut costs while delivering qualifications that better serve students”.

 

Competing models of higher education

An interesting new report from the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative discusses the barriers facing higher education. The challenges of “competing models of higher education” is considered daunting.

It states that the challenge to traditional Higher Education “is becoming less about brick-and-mortar institutions feeling threatened by free online educational resources (e.g. MOOCs) and more about the traditional approaches of these institutions no longer appealing to students. Universities are being challenged at all angles (including by the [U.S. Department] of Ed and their move to redefine the credit hour to include amount of work represented by learning outcomes) to update their degree programs & curriculum to embrace more unconventional practices, such as competency-based and flexible degree programs and more”.

This concurs with our view that higher education needs to move beyond outdated notions of seat time and credit hours and focus on what students can demonstrate they know and can do as measured by learning outcomes.

Assessment techniques in higher education are ripe for innovation

Assessment techniques in higher education are ripe for innovation, having not changed much in the past hundred years. As students pay more for their education they are going to want much clearer evidence of what they have achieved.

An article published this week in The Australian’s Higher Education supplement supports this view.