The US Dept of Education at www.ed.gov defines Competency-Based Education in the following way: Transitioning away from seat time, in favor of a structure that creates flexibility, allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time, place, or pace of learning. Competency-based strategies provide flexibility in the way that credit can be earned or awarded, and provide students with personalized learning opportunities. This type of learning leads to better student engagement because the content is relevant to each student and tailored to their unique needs. It also leads to better student outcomes because the pace of learning is customized to each student.
By enabling students to master skills at their own pace, competency-based learning systems help to save both time and money. Depending on the strategy pursued, competency-based systems also make better use of technology, support new staffing patterns that utilize teacher skills and interests differently, take advantage of learning opportunities outside of school hours and walls, and help identify opportunities to target interventions to meet the specific learning needs of students. Each of these presents an opportunity to achieve greater efficiency and increase productivity.
NationsUniversity has developed its programs utilizing the principles and expectations of Competency Based Education (CBE). While each course has specific expectations about student workload, the program provides flexibility within a self-paced environment. Students who bring unique and relevant personal experience or education into a course can expect to master the course's objectives more quickly than a student without an equivalent background. The measure, then, is not how long did it take the student to complete the course, but how well did the student demonstrate competency of the stated course objectives. Both NationsUniversity and our accrediting agency, DEAC, strive to promote this competency-based learning experience to ensure student success.