You may have heard of competency-based education (CBE) and you may also know that it emphasises learning outcomes, but what does that mean in practice?
You may have heard of competency-based education (CBE) and you may also know that it emphasises learning outcomes, but what does that mean in practice? How do you break down course objectives into competencies, and how do you teach and assess those competencies? These are some of the questions we’ll be looking to answer in an upcoming webinar together with higher education management consultancy CHE Consult on 5 April 2018.
During the session, Competency Based Education – Optimising and monitoring learning outcomes with the learning management system Brightspace, CHE Consult’s Christian Berthold and D2L’s Michael Moore will consider:
- What CBE means
- Why it is important to further education in Germany
- What is meant by competencies
- How to establish and assess competencies within D2L’s Brightspace platform.
Higher education institutions in Germany are working to deliver courses in line with the expectations of the Bologna process. This initiative of public authorities, educational institutions and employers works to harmonise and strengthen quality assurance in higher education in Europe. Its reforms introduce the European Credit Transfer System to make it easier for students to move between countries where their learning credits will be recognised.
One of the main objectives of the Bologna process is to steer higher education instruction in the direction of competencies as a more complex concept of learning outcomes.
Diverse student population asks for student-centred learning
University dropout rates have been a cause for concern in recent years. In Germany, university dropout rates are rising in some fields of study, including engineering where the rate is around 32 per cent.[i] With skilled engineers in high demand, this figure is cause for concern.
By adapting to meet the needs of today’s learners, higher education can strive to minimise course non-completions. Flexibility is key, because learners spend less time now in the classroom than they did before. A shift in learning patterns and behaviours demands a new way of learning, one that supports course content delivery across a range of devices for study to be undertaken anywhere, at any time.
Learning needs to be adaptable enough to suit students of varying levels of knowledge and skills. This is particularly the case in further education where students bring a broad range of experiences to their study. They have busy work and home lives too – 60 per cent of students in Germany work[ii] – and they need to balance this alongside their learning.
CBE can be particularly effective in these situations because the learning is more self-paced; it allows students to draw on their existing skills and experiences and supports them in areas where they may have less knowledge. Online, personalised study programmes give students access to supplementary content if they need to build knowledge in areas that are less familiar to them, while at the same time allowing them to move more quickly through areas where they have a high level of expertise.
Easing the transition with automation
For learning institutions, a transition to a CBE model can be simpler to achieve than it may first appear. Here, technology can help. D2L’s Brightspace has a competencies tool that helps automate some of the processes within course design. This can significantly reduce the amount of work required to build courses and is one of the areas Michael will cover on the webinar. You’ll also find out how to:
- translate study objectives into competencies
- teach competencies
- test and assess student success in a CBE course.
We hope you can join us on 5 April and look forward to exploring the topic in more depth with you then. In the meantime, to find out more about CBE you can download our ebook Learners Become Masters: Answering Five Key Questions About Competency-based Education.
Heublein, U., Ebert, J., Hutzsch, C., Isleib, S., König, R., Richter, J., & Woisch, A. (2017). Zwischen Studienerwartungen und Studienwirklichkeit, Ursachen des Studienabbruchs, beruflicher Verbleib der Studienabbrecherinnen und Studienabbrecher und Entwicklung der Studienabbruchquote an deutschen Hochschulen. (Forum Hochschule 1|2017). Hannover: DZHW.
Middendorff, E., Apolinarski, B., Poskowky, J., Kandulla, M., & Netz, N. (2013): Die wirtschaftliche und soziale Lage der Studierenden in Deutschland 2012. 20. Sozialerhebung des Deutschen Studentenwerks durchgeführt durch das HIS-Institut für Hochschulforschung.
[i] Heublein et al. 2017
[ii] See Middendorff et al. 2013