Do They Know What They Know? Communicating Learner Competencies to Companies

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Brief Abstract

***Mac is 1 of 5 presenters in this opening Welcome Lunch/Lightning Talks general session***

How do employers know what our graduates know? Sure, their resume lists a degree such as a Bachelor of Science in Business. But what does that imply that they know and what can they do with that knowledge? Several efforts are underway to better communicate the competencies of our graduates. Competency Based Education (CBE) is a degree program structure that is becoming more popular and advances students not on time spent, but on competencies demonstrated. Alternative credentials (badges, certifications and nano degrees) are also becoming recognized by employers as they concisely communicate a set of acquired skills. Employers themselves are granting credentials for the training and education they are providing their staff.

This climate calls for targeted communication between industry and higher education. Not only must we identify what students must learn, but we must articulate how they will perform in the workplace with their acquired skills set. The deliverable resulting from the dialogue is closer alignment between industry standards and curriculum planning.


Dr. Mac Adkins is the Founder and Chief Academic Officer of SmarterServices. He has been a higher education administrator for over 25 years and served as a Dean or Director of Distance Education for ten of those years. He has taught in the online doctoral program of Capella University for eight years and has taught online for Troy University for thirteen years. Dr. Adkins received his Doctor of Education degree from Auburn University in 1998. His major for the degree was Educational Leadership. He is a frequent speaker at educational conferences.

Extended Abstract