What is “Competency Based Education”?

Transforming Education: The Key Principles and Impact of Competency-Based Learning

<red> October 10th, 2023 <red>

Learn how Competency-based  Education is Different from Traditional Education? 

The search for better and effective teaching strategies is a never ending process. In 2011, 100 experts and educators from all over the world conducted a conference in an effort to make teaching more effective. That’s when they agreed upon a 5-point working definition of Competency Based Education (CBE). 

What is Competency Based Education? 

Competency Based Education, also called the mastery of proficiency based education is a high quality education system. Here, the focus is placed on understanding how competent each student is in the subject, rather than on his grades and yearly reports. 

Competency Based Education focuses on engaging students in demonstrating their mastery. It comes with well defined competencies and learning outcomes specifically articulated to empower students. 

Additionally, CBE offers students with meaningful assessments and positive learning experience. What makes CBE more relevant is that it doesn’t come with a single strategy for all the students. It offers support based individual learning, as it believes no student is similar and therefore a single strategy can’t be applied to all the students. 

Through CBE, students learn to apply competency, creation of knowledge, skills and dispositions in their daily life. 

6 Components of Competency Based Education 

  1. Learning outcomes 

In CBE, the learning outcomes are clearly defined and specific. These outcomes describe what a student is expected to know and be able to do at the end of the learning experience.

  1. Flexibility of time and frame 

Unlike traditional education, where students progress through yearly grades, CBE allows students to learn at their own pace. They advance when they demonstrate mastery of the learning outcomes, regardless of how much time it takes.

  1. Multiple pedagogies 

CBE can incorporate a variety of teaching methods and strategies to help students achieve the learning outcomes. This might include online resources, project-based learning, group activities, and more, catering to different learning styles.

  1. Variety of engaging content

CBE often integrates a range of learning materials, including multimedia, interactive modules, simulations, real-world examples, and more. This diverse content keeps learners engaged and supports different ways of understanding concepts.

  1. Criterion-  referenced testing 

Assessment in CBE is based on clearly defined criteria tied to the learning outcomes. Students are evaluated based on their ability to meet these criteria, rather than being compared to their peers. It completely focuses on mastery of skills and knowledge.

  1. Demonstrated learning outcome 

In CBE, students must demonstrate their mastery of the defined learning outcomes. This can be done through various forms of assessment, such as projects, presentations, practical tasks, and exams. The emphasis is on real-world application of skills.

Impact of Competency Based Education 

CBE inculcates schools and teaching with several positive benefits likes- 

Enhancement in the teacher learner interaction 

CBE often leads to increased interaction between teachers and learners. Since the learning outcomes are clearly defined and personalized, teachers can provide more targeted support and guidance to each student. This individualized attention fosters a stronger teacher-learner relationship and a better understanding of each student's strengths and areas that need improvement.

Use of creative and learner centric methods enhances learning 

CBE encourages educators to adopt innovative and learner-centred teaching methods. With the flexibility to tailor instruction to individual needs, teachers can explore a variety of approaches, such as project-based learning, experiential learning, and interactive simulations. This dynamic teaching environment can make learning more engaging and meaningful for students.

Assess students in areas they prefer 

CBE allows students to focus on areas of interest or areas where they excel. This not only enhances motivation and engagement but also helps students build expertise in subjects they are passionate about. Assessing students in areas they prefer can lead to deeper learning and a stronger sense of accomplishment.

Focuses more on quality of education rather than quantity 

Unlike traditional education models that often prioritize completing a set curriculum within a fixed time frame, CBE shifts the emphasis from covering a large volume of content to achieving a high level of competency. This approach ensures that students thoroughly understand and can apply the material, promoting a deeper understanding of concepts.

Difference between Traditional and Competency Based Education

Detailed Chart to Understand the Difference between Traditional and Competency-based Education


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