Forging a path with competency-based education in Moodle

Moodlers, are you interested in competency-based education (CBE)?

For those not familiar with CBE, simply put, it refers to assessment systems which are based on learners demonstrating what they have learned and the knowledge and the skills required.

CBE has been referred to as one of the “next big things” in edtech!

Many organisations and individuals are searching for ways to apply CBE effectively in their learning institutions.

In a recent webinar, eThink Education, a Moodle Partner in the US, Canada, Nigeria and the Caribbean, aimed to help individuals and organisations gain a deeper understanding of CBE.

In the webinar, presented by Claire Machia, Director of Support Services, and Courtney Bentley, Vice President of Services, they shared industry trends and tips on how to get started with CBE in Moodle.

The webinar was also an opportunity for eThink Education to expand their MootUS17 – Florida presentation on CBE, which can be viewed on our YouTube channel.  

Let’s take a look at the research around CBE, starting with industry trends:

K-12 CBE Trends

The team at eThink Education explained that K-12 institutions are “leading the charge” with CBE.

This is because CBE is ingrained in the K-12 curriculum and grade level mindset. State standards and curriculums, due to their large amount of detail, translate well into a Moodle competency framework.

Webinar attendees were shown how this can be done using grade level or subject matter.

Workplace CBE Trends

The workplace is a rapidly-growing sector using Moodle and “businesses are approaching CBE in a ‘gangbuster’ or ‘going at it’ style.”

Due to Moodle’s flexibility, their learning platform is readily available to implement CBE.

One example of how workplaces may utilise CBE is to implement new hire onboarding, compliance, and tracking with learning plans or product training.

Higher Education CBE Trends

Colleges and universities are also experimenting with different uses of competency frameworks within their institutions.

Although CBE is not new to higher education, the sector is seeing different universities combine CBE with Learning Management Systems like Moodle in different ways.

Unlike the workplace sector, higher ed institutions cannot can start from scratch when implementing CBE, nor can they use curriculum outlines when apply CBE in the same way K-12 organisations do.

Instead, higher ed institutions aim to redesign their current assessment processes and determine how they could be leveraged using a learning management system and competency-based education.

An example of how CBE is being used within higher education is the combining of external portfolios into one internal system.

Higher education institutions also use CBE to assess program learning outcomes.

How do you use CBE correctly in Moodle?

Let’s take a look at a few steps!

Step 1: Taking the first steps

The first undertaking is to become familiar with CBE features, which have matured to a robust framework within Moodle.

Similar to a jigsaw puzzle, there are several Moodle pieces which need to fit together for CBE to be effective. They are:

  • The competency framework
  • The scale, which is used to evaluate what standard has been set. These can also be configured to suit the user’s goals.
  • Linked elements, to help integrate CBE to courses. Activities and assessments are also linked for meaningful results.
  • Consideration must also be given to the learning plan, which educators and learners will work with daily.

Step 2: Use what you’ve got

For people new to using CBE within Moodle, using an existing set of standards is a good start. For example using an existing assessment which has been used on a different platform or even on paper.

It is also suggested that those thinking of CBE should think about how their existing assessment and  training might benefit from being managed by Moodle.

Step 3: Play with it

Want to be familiar with CBE within Moodle?

Play with it by:

  • “Fleshing out” an existing set of standards.
  • Experimenting with how the pieces fit together.
  • Determine if they should link to courses and/or activities.
  • Consider how they will want the students and the educators to interact with learning plans.

CBE considerations & tips

Finishing the webinar, Claire and Courtney shared these CBE considerations and tips:

  • Start with something basic, then get more complex over time.
  • The level of Moodle adoption is key if an institution or individual wants a robust learning plan.

There needs to be teaching and learning within Moodle as the number of activities is proportional to CBE,meaning that if there are no activities in a Moodle course CBE will not be achieved.

The full webinar can be watched on YouTube, or you can find out about previous eThink Education webinars in our blog post.

For more information about eThink Education, visit their website.

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