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What is Competency-Based Learning?
Instead of measuring the time you sit in class, Competency-based education (CBE) focuses on what you know and what you can do. Our goal is to help you advance your knowledge and skills to the next level, applying what you’ve learned to a rapid project experience, and then meeting employers who have helped us define the competencies they seek.
Developing these key competencies prepares you for future work. Throughout the Programs, you will apply and create evidence that documents your skills and abilities and potential.
How do we Assess Competencies?
We have developed the following schema to communicate your learning. Rather than a calculated average of numbers or letters, we see learning as a continuum of engagement with activities and experience, from just becoming aware of a competency to demonstrating you use it all the time. This kind of assessment is more valuable for your own self-awareness as well as your current and future employers.
Here are the categories we use as we assess your competency in various areas.
- Nothing to observe
- Beginner (aware of competency)
- Intermediate (uses competency sometimes)
- Advanced (uses competency often)
- Expert (uses competency always)
What are the Competencies?
National and local employers have confirmed the importance of professional competencies in tandem with technical skills. These highly sought after skills are not unique to digital careers; they work everywhere. That is why they are sometimes called “transferable skills.”
Throughout your course, we will be helping you further develop these competencies. As you gain more examples of your skills in these areas, include these phrases on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
We have worked with businesses to identify 8 Professional Competencies (PF1 – PF8) that are critical to success in business, coupled with 7 Project Competencies (PJ1 – PJ7) designed to cover the key components involved in a project development and realization.
- Critical and Analytical Thinking (PF1) – Uses logic, reasoning, and analysis to address problems.
Example: The kitchen floor is wet near the sink. After following the drips and puddles I found the leak under the sink.
- Problem Solving and Decision Making (PF2) – Applies critical-thinking skills to solve problems by generating, evaluating, and implementing solutions.
Example: My car is broken. After researching car loans and common repair costs over the same time frame as loans, I concluded that it would be more cost efficient to buy a new car.
- Communication and Writing (PF3) – Communicates verbally and in writing well enough to be understood.
Example: I finished revising my peer reviewed paper on Thermodynamics the day after giving a presentation about it to an 8th grade class.
- Interpersonal Skills (PF4) – Description: Demonstrates skills for working with others from diverse backgrounds.
Example: As the foreman, I was able to get the building built ahead of schedule and under budget after working with the city code enforcement officers and my plumbers to work around a large issue.
- Professionalism and Reliability (PF5) – Maintains a professional demeanor and displays responsible behavior.
Example: Despite it being Friday afternoon and finishing a long, challenging project, I was able to proofread the technical documents and successfully on-board a new employee.
- Planning and Organizing (PF6) – Plans and prioritizes work to manage time effectively and accomplish assigned tasks.
Example: After class, I took the syllabus and filled out my calendar with assignments and exam dates, noting the topics I was most unfamiliar with.
- Initiative and Flexibility (PF7) – Demonstrates both a willingness to work and the capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements. Example: I was quickly promoted to manager after taking the initiative to work with each department to get a deep understanding of what they do.
- Continuous Learning (PF8) – Demonstrates a willingness to learn and apply new knowledge and skills.
Example: I got excited when a new electric car came into the shop; I couldn’t wait to learn what’s making it run.
- Problem Analysis (PJ1) – Presents sufficient and appropriate data/information. Analyzes data/information for accuracy, relevance, and validity.
- Problem Clarification (PJ2) – Identifies most or all key issues and/or problems. Details problem with clear scope and output definitions.
- Project Plan (PJ3) – Demonstrates a clear understanding of the project and identifies problems, working cohesively towards resolving problems within the project scope.
- Prototype Solution (PJ4) – Develops a prototype that demonstrates a strong understanding of project and action plan and clearly shows how problems are being addressed.
- Testing and Quality Assurance (PJ5) – Provides clear direction and accessible testing environment.
- Data Evaluation and Synthesis (PJ6) – Displays clear understanding of test results; makes connections and see patterns
- Final Analysis (PJ7) – Presents recommendations for revision that are logical, complete, and consistent, and demonstrates some unique or creative insight.