27. Competency-Based Learning
27.2. Who Uses Competency-Based Learning?
The Western Governors University in the USA, with nearly 40,000 students, has pioneered competency-based learning, but, with the more recent support of the Federal Department of Education, competency-based learning is expanding rapidly in the USA. Other institutions making extensive use of competency-based learning are Southern New Hampshire University through its College for America, designed specifically for working adults and their employers, Northern Arizona University, and Capella University.
Competency-based learning is particularly appropriate for adult learners with life experience who may have developed competencies or skills without formal education or training, for those who started school or college and dropped out and wish to return to formal study, but want their learning ‘after school’ to be recognized, or for those learners wanting to develop specific skills but not wanting a full program of studies. Competency-based learning can be delivered through a campus program, but it is increasingly delivered fully online because many students taking such programs are already working or seeking work, and because technology enables each student with a distinct pathway through content based on their prior knowledge.