Competency Based Learning Innovations

Wednesday, February 11 | 9:30AM–10:15AM | California B, Second Floor
Session Type: Professional Development
Innovating in Policy and Practice: Realizing the Potential of Competency-Based Learning and Badges
Deborah Everhart, Director of Solutions Strategy, Blackboard Inc.
For the 36 million Americans with "some college, no degree" who need flexible, lower-cost education options, competency-based learning provides many advantages. CBL, combined with badges and microcredentials, is part of a range of opportunities for learner-centric innovations. A joint research initiative of the American Council on Education and Blackboard is generating resources to foster broader understanding of CBL and badges for degree completion and workforce readiness: a lexicon of key terms, CBL models, case studies, and guides. The research raises challenging questions about scalable approaches that include assessing learning in nonacademic settings and using open badges for learners' competency achievements.

OUTCOMES: Articulate scenarios that lead to reconsideration of traditional educational units and structures * Formulate challenging questions about the opportunities of CBL and badges * Consider the potential impacts of CBL at your institution

Fostering Engaged Social Participation in Online Competency-Based Contexts
Daniel Hickey, Associate Professor and Program Head, Indiana University Bloomington
This session will show how highly participatory forms of social engagement around course knowledge can be fostered within competency-based online learning contexts. Design-based research carried out across multiple online learning platforms has resulted in new design principles for participatory learning. These strategies provide the interactive disciplinary learning needed to prepare learners for success in digital knowledge networks, while providing the flexibility and self-pacing associated with traditional competency-based approaches (including convincing assessment evidence of disciplinary knowledge and achievement). These strategies are associated with open code and extensions for major learning management systems and are associated with participatory learning analytics.

OUTCOMES: Learn how to design participatory competency-based courses * Learn how to access code and extensions to implement these features * Discuss the relationship between assumptions about thinking and practices for learning


  • Deb Everhart

    Researcher, Georgetown University
  • Daniel Hickey

    Professor of Learning Sciences, Indiana University Bloomington

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