WGU: Barriers to Bringing Competency-Based Education to Scale

Concurrent Session 5

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Brief Abstract

 
Competency-Based Education in its current form is a fairly recent innovation with many institutions implementing new CBE programs or exploring the suitability for their institution.  The lessons WGU has learned about barriers to success and challenges to scalability with a student enrollment of 72,000 students will be highlighted.    

Presenters

Fred Hurst is Vice President of Academic Advancement at Western Governors University. He serves as a national spokesperson for WGU and competency-based education to the higher education, policy, and quality assurance communities. Dr. Hurst develops and manages partnerships with higher education institutions, policy organizations, think tanks, associations, and foundations. Prior positions include: Senior Vice President for Extended Campuses at Northern Arizona and architect for NAU’s Personalized Learning competency-based education initiative; Executive Director of the Florida Public Postsecondary Distance Learning Institute; Dean of Information Technologies/CIO for the Education Network of Maine. Dr. Hurst served as vice chair of the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance as an appointee of the U.S. House of Representatives. Fred received the WICHE/WCET Richard Jonsen Award in 2013. He has served the Higher Learning Commission as a member of the Institutional Actions Council (IAC), team chair and consultant-evaluator.
Lauren is a learning leader with over 15 years of experience in higher education settings and expertise in curriculum and program design for online learning. She seeks to inspire her teams and institutions to solve complex challenges in adult learning and design. In collaboration with learning science and design thought leaders, industry experts, institutional leadership, and education professionals, she facilitates the design and development of exceptional learning experiences for the next-generation of global learners and leaders. Today, she applies her leadership and drive for innovation to the increasing demand for affordable, attainable, quality higher education through competency-based learning at Western Governors University. There, Lauren leads teams within the Program Development Department to design, deliver, and continuously improve programs to a growing student base growing maturing in their demands for a more sophisticated and integrated student experience.

Extended Abstract

Competency-Based Education in its current form is a fairly recent innovation with many institutions implementing new CBE programs or exploring the suitability for their institution.  The lessons WGU has learned about barriers to success and challenges to scalability with a student enrollment of more than 72,000 students will be highlighted.    

In recent years there has been a growing concern about increasing the number of certificate and degree holders in high-demand career fields. Politicians and policy makers are calling for less expensive paths to postsecondary credentials for an estimated 36 million adults with some college credits but no degree.  By 2020 it is estimated that more than 5 million jobs will go unfilled for lack of qualified candidates with the credentials required. 

In order to educate and certify the competency of the needed workforce, changes in public policy, law, regulation and related barriers must be addressed at the national, state and local levels.  At the same time, we need to ensure that financial aid funding is effectively use to support successful students.

This presentation will provide the WGU perspective on how competency-based education can provide the workforce needed for the future at an affordable cost.