by Stephen Downes
Nov 10, 2015
The usual arguments for competency-based education and why they are invalid
There's a nice challenge in the headline. Stephen Krashen responds to a post by John Baker in EdSurge describing and defending competency-based education. "Today’s students," writes Baker, "get to move ahead based on what they know, which is better for the student, more efficient for the institution and provides real, positive social and economic change." But, says Krashen, "The 'personalization' offered by CBE is limited to what can be done on a computer." Also, "Not mentioned in the current discussions of CBE is the lack of research supporting it." You can see more of this line of reasoning at the UnitedOptOut blog. I get the sense that a lot of the opposition to competency-based learning is based on the fact that the opponents really don't like the proponents very much. I wish opponents would articulate their opposition on educational and scientific criteria, not social and political.
How to Get Work Done on the Road
Harvard Business Review,
It's funny, but I'm actually more productive on the road. As I type this, I'm sitting in a departure lounge in Toronto waiting for a flight to El Salvador. I've already ticked a half dozen things off my list of things to do, I'm on my second meeting, and I still have a good hour or more. I have more of a challenge actually working on the airplane, because you can't work with your knees up against your chest. But I can't fix that without free upgrades. (As an aside, I hate HBR's new navigation menu that eats the top third of readable space on the page).
Re-imagining secondary learning through a key competencies frame
Rosemary Hipkins, Wayne Erb,
New Zealand Education Gazette,
On the one hand, I am uneasy with the way this article addresses competencies through the language of behaviourism (for example, with repeated reference to 'dispositions', echoing Gilbert Ryle from the 1950s. On the other hand, I like the points being made to the effect that, if we are going to assess competencies, we should do so within a framework of complex behavior. Rosemary Hipkins writes, "I am often asked if key competencies should be assessed. My short answer is ‘no’ but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken into account in the overall assessment mix. Assessment tasks that require a ‘complex performance’ (one that brings together content, context and targeted competencies) provide opportunities for students to show how multiple dimensions of their competencies are building and getting stronger over time.
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