One of the top trends in the US education market is a drive towards Competency Based Education. It’s an increasingly flexible way of learning, assessing, grading and academic reporting which is based upon students being able to demonstrate they have the knowledge and skills required as they progress through higher education.
In a nutshell, it’s come about as employers demand more from graduates than just an academic qualification on paper. They want graduates to be equipped with all the softer non-cognitive skills required to make them employable, such as tenacity, inter-personal skills, ability to meet deadlines and turn up on time. But this has historically been difficult to measure and spotting those traits has been very much left up to the employer to decide at interview.
Technology is changing this by providing the ability to measure non-cognitive skills over time as students progress through university. And those institutions that have recognised the competitive advantage it gives their students with potential employers are creating a USP for themselves and providing value for money for their degrees. CBE provides students with flexibility – to learn at their own individual pace and fit learning and life together seamlessly, which is further enhanced by technology. It has the ability to save significant time by allowing the completion of degrees faster, and therefore less expensively and it can help in making the foundations of students’ learning very strong as the measured competencies pertain to precise skills that employers seek.
As CBE platforms are adopted in universities, new apps will provide the opportunity to make the competencies of all students visible to employers and universities well before graduation. These ‘online dating’-type apps will transform career services so that students are engaged from their first year of university in honing their skills to find the right match of employer. Visiting the careers office in their final year of university will become a thing of the past, making way for the careers department to become part of the student lifecycle from the very beginning. It’s a method that can only seek to help them find students their perfect employment partner.