Though not entirely new, competency based education has captured the attention of the higher education community—and for good reason. With approximately 36 million Americans with “some college, no degree” who need flexibility in their post-secondary education, as well as the large segment of first-generation, low income students who would benefit from innovative pedagogical approaches and lower cost options, competency based education provides many advantages.
However, there is no “one specific thing” called competency based education. Further, related terms are used in different ways by different people, often causing confusion.This new lexicon addresses these issues, developed by the American Council on Education and Blackboard as part of our joint research advancing competency based education. The document is arranged by topics to facilitate exploration and discussion: Overview, Competencies and Learning Outcomes, Learning Processes, Assessment Processes, Evidence of Learning, Credentials, Badges, Instructional and Support Roles, Student Support, Regulations and Accreditation, and Validation.
We consider this to be a living document that will evolve as new terms come into use or as their meanings shift over time. It’s offered under a Creative Commons license, and we encourage you to reuse and remix it as part of your own discussions. We welcome your feedback. Download the definitions now.
Deborah Everhart, Director of Solutions Strategy, Blackboard
Cathy Sandeen, Vice President, Education Attainment and Innovation, American Council on Education
Deborah Seymour, Assistant Vice President, Education Attainment and Innovation, American Council on Education
Karen Yoshino, Principal Strategist, Blackboard