Is Competency-Based Education Poised to Disrupt Higher Ed?

In an insightful new article, “Is this the dark horse of online education” published by eCampus News, the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation is predicting that “online competency-based education stands out as the innovation to most likely disrupt higher education.”

CBE Graduates
At Helix Education, we believe that CBE has the power to optimize the cost of graduation.

That’s pretty powerful stuff.

Michelle Weise, senior research fellow of Higher Education for the Clayton Christensen Institute, and Clayton Christensen himself have published a new mini book, Hire Education: Mastery, Modularization, and the Workforce Revolution, in which they talk about the potential of competency-based education (CBE).  These thought leaders appear to be taking such a stand because of inherent nature of CBE in merging “the right learning model, the right technologies, the right customers, and the right business model.”

In general these days, it seems that there is a tremendous amount of concern over not only the cost of higher education, but also the length of time it takes students, especially adult learners, to graduate.

Could CBE be the answer?

Weiss and Christensen say that, “For a growing set of students who are looking for a different value proposition out of college—one that centers on affordable and targeted programs, tailored support, as well as identifiable skill sets that are portable and meaningful to employers—online competency-based education hits the mark.”

To us at Helix Education, and it seems to the Institute as well, CBE really does have the power to optimize the cost of graduation and provide new, and far more efficient ways for students to get the skills they need in an effective and cost-efficient manner.

As the higher education model that we once knew begins to transform given technological advances, economic shifts, and new student expectations, it seems CBE certainly has a horse in the race, and an extremely favorable one at that.

Kari Kovar

Leading the Partnerships Division at Helix Education, Kari brings more than 15 years of experience in higher education. In her role, she evaluates new partnerships, ensuring that the company and its clients are aligned for success. Kari has a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations from the University of North Dakota.