By: Anne Reed
Competency-based education (CBE) is currently touted as an important innovation in higher education that has the potential to disrupt the traditional model and to radically transform the way students receive a postsecondary education. CBE is characterized by an individualized approach to education in which students learn at their own pace and demonstrate the attainment of predetermined competencies, typically through performance assessments. CBE is a system that challenges the course-sequenced, credit-based college degree program that has been criticized for high cost, inefficiency, and failing to prepare students for job placement. In recent years, CBE proponents have cited numerous advantages to this approach including the benefits of self-directed learning, flexibility (“anytime, anywhere” learning), and a focus on experiential learning through real-world activities.