I’ve covered this ground quite a bit in the past so I just wanted to point out an article in the Chronicle.
Traditional educators often find competency programs alarming—and understandably so. Earning college credit by virtue of life experience runs afoul of classroom experience, which many educators believe to be sacred. As a colleague recently said, “Life is not college. Life is what prepares you for college.”
In fact, traditional educators should be alarmed. If more institutions gravitate toward competency-based models, more and more students will earn degrees from institutions at which they take few courses and perhaps interact minimally with professors. Then what will a college degree mean?
I’ve always found it silly that we ask people “what degree did you get” rather than “what do you know?”
Students are getting more opportunities to experience things before college and more opportunities to have work experiences. As they change, they will demand freedom from the narrow pathway of a 4 year degree. In every other area of society, personalization is the new black. Higher education will go the same way, even if it has to be dragged kicking and screaming. 😉
The article ends thus:
Meanwhile, institutions that are unwilling or unable to incorporate elements of a competency model will be forced to defend the value of learning that cannot be easily assessed and demonstrated. That will be a hard message to communicate and sell, especially given that students with mastery of applied and technical skill sets tend to be rewarded with jobs upon graduation. Additionally, noncompetency tuition will almost certainly rise relative to competency-based credit models, which require less instruction and thus can be delivered at lower cost.
The marketplace rarely reacts well to perceived low marginal benefit at high marginal price.
Yes exactly right. It’s all about economics and economic realities are inevitable. You can postpone them for a time but eventually the bill is due.