A Framework for Integrated Competency-Based Education

Thursday 3:30pm - 4:00pm Brighton 1/2
Oral Presentation

Lisa Bosman, Purdue University-Main Campus
Prof. Abrar Hammoud, Purdue University-Main Campus
Over the past several years, competency-based education has been championed and implemented in vocational education, which prepares individuals for work in a variety of fields such as specialized trades, crafts, and as technicians. This new and innovative approach to education offers for-profit and non-profit higher education institutions, alike, opportunities to capitalize on business models that allow students access to self-paced, distance, and online learning for completing vocational education. In these cases, competencies are commonly obtained and demonstrated by watching short videos, completing assignments, and passing online assessments that substantiate students' abilities accomplishing a series of learning objectives. However, little progress has occurred and few resources exist that demonstrate how to incorporate competency-based education into traditional bachelor degree programs. The purpose of this presentation is to highlight Purdue University's innovative approach to learning that goes beyond the proverbial "checking boxes" and provides an approach that engages and evidences the integration of abilities and reflections. This original and experimental program, Transdisciplinary Studies in Technology (TST), offers three unique attributes. First, it is competency-based in that students are required to demonstrate mastery of 20 core competencies through submissions of artifacts ("transdisciplinary-doing") and reflections ("transdisciplinary-thinking"). Second, it is transdisciplinary in that learning experiences integrate the humanities into engineering, design, and technology skill sets. Finally, approximately 1/3 of the required credits are "free credits" in that students are granted agency to individualize their own educational journey. This has allowed growth and transformation to include minors and concentration options within the college and throughout the university.