Competency Based Education Making a Splash

Last year there were only 52 competency based education (CBE) programs available in the U.S. This year, over 500 colleges and universities plan to roll out new CBE programs. Using technology for customized learning, students work at their own pace. CBE’s allow nontraditional students the opportunity to attend college, yet be free from the constraints of the traditional credit hour. These programs are also more cost effective and enable students to obtain their degrees faster.

CBE programs should be booming based on cost and how quickly degrees can be earned but research has indicated that participation in such programs is dismal. Of the launched CBE programs, only a few have enrolled over 1,000 students. Many wonder if CBE programs are not different enough from traditional online college completion courses that also tout the philosophy of working at your own pace.

That could change though. With so many colleges and universities focusing resources on CBE programs, there will be many new options to come this year for nontraditional students. As CBE programs gain momentum, many new education apps are also on the horizon. These apps streamline information and will usher in what Tech Crunch is calling the “Golden Age of American Education.

There’s a CBE app on the horizon that will allow employers access to student transcripts. By clicking on courses taken, the company will be able to determine competencies demonstrated by students. This will aid in successful hiring for particular positions. Graduate schools will also have access to this information and will have a depth of insight into prospective students and their academic experiences.

With this type of information available to employers, even freshman and sophomores may begin to be contacted for internships, pre-hiring training or employer suggestions on coursework and extracurricular activities. With just 12 percent of graduating seniors accepting job offers prior to graduation, these CBE apps allow for that figure to increase dramatically with the interactive connectedness of students and prospective future employers.

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