Productivity Implications of a Shift to Competency-Based Education: An environmental scan and review of the relevant literature

Brian Abner, Oksana Bartosh, Charles Ungerleider, Drunks&Lamppost, Jun 18, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I think this is true: "There is no systematic, comprehensive study indicating that the purported skills from a CBE program translate into performance, either in graduation results or in the labour market." That does not mean that competency-based education is the wrong way to go, say the authors of a report (75 page PDF) from from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), but it does suggest that it should be embraced cautiously.  This is pragmatic advice, if only because of the cost of conversion to a competency-based system. And in any case, the value of a CDE-based approach isn't on the embrace of competencies, it's in what the approach enables: standardized resources, personalized education, multiple learning options. Some of these may improve outcomes, but yes, this needs to be shown.


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