I wrote last week about attending the SoftChalk User Conference in Baltimore. At the end of 2 days of workshops, I attended a presentation about competency-based education. This is something of a buzz word, as nontraditional certification programs develop ways to certify individuals to be capable for employment. It’s also a natural consequence, I think, of acknowledging that a grade in a course doesn’t guarantee the ability to apply, or even remember, what was learned in a course.
So, I’m interested in finding ways to teach, and document, competency to and for our students. The topic of this workshop was competency in a speech course, but I think the basic idea can be translated to other academic areas. The presenter had a very narrow designation for competencies: every specific, individual skill at the most basic level that could be explained and tested was a competency. The way she used these in her course involved allowing students to demonstrate competency and accumulate them for credit.
This got me thinking – can we take the HAPS learning outcomes, at the finest level, and develop short lessons that focus on those individual skills/ideas, then construct an organizational framework that builds into a conceptual structure that students can apply to higher levels? These could be parked in a HAPS-approved repository, such as LifeSciTRC. They could stress different learning styles and incorporate various resources (such as video files) that would help students with different learning styles. HAPS members could contribute to a pool of resources that could be tagged by learning style, HAPS objective, and maybe Bloom’s levels.
I can’t say I have a fully-formed idea of this in my head, but I think I’ll try to pull something together, and post it in SoftChalk (which has a new initiative called SoftChalk Share) for feedback.
I realize there could be issues of copyright, competition, and other complications, and I’m interested in both the pros and the cons. So, please share – what do you think? I know there are some wonderful resources developed by HAPS members and others…does this idea fill a niche? Is it something you could use? Would you be willing to contribute?
Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful input.