PDC Helps Create Competency-based Learning Playbooks

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Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center (PDC) has embarked on a project that includes facilitating a competency-based education and training initiative with an iLEAD-affiliated high school that supports pregnant and parenting teens in and around Lancaster, Calif.

PDC staff members, including Associate Director of Professional Development Dan Condon, have been instrumental in facilitating a number of initiatives for Empower Generations, including the ongoing creation of a Competency-Based Education Playbook.

Competency-based learning (CBL), which is an approach to teaching and learning of measurable skills rather than abstract learning, is at the core of Empower Generations’ offerings for students pursuing a high school diploma while navigating through new experiences as a result of pregnancy and parenthood. Guided by CBL, students enrolled at the Southern California school focus on what is taught and not on the amount of time spent completing credits. Instead of marinating in a seat for four years, students learning in this particular CBL setting work at their own pace to demonstrate mastery in the competencies necessary for receiving their high school diploma.

In other words, the focus of competency-based learning is on the final outcome and not the journey. This is a huge benefit for independent and adult learners who may be working towards a degree around other schedules.

Specifically, the competency-based learning approach features five core elements: 

  1. Students advance upon demonstrated mastery, not seat time.
  2. The essential skills we want students to develop (competencies) include explicit, measurable, transferable learning outcomes that empower those students.
  3. Assessment is a meaningful, positive learning experience for students.
  4. Students receive timely, differentiated learning support based on their individual needs.
  5. Learning experiences emphasize application and creation of knowledge, in addition to the development of essential skills and dispositions.

It was while working together earlier this month at the school’s location just north of Los Angeles that Dan Condon facilitated sessions focused on the completion of the Competency Based Education Playbook with iLEAD senior administrators, including Amanda Fischer, Executive Director of iLEAD California, and Angie Nastovska, iLEADS’ Director of Humanities & Innovative Programs.

Once completed and with their playbook in hand, iLEAD administrators and staff will possess a current and thoughtfully conceived written resource to guide them going forward where all things CBL is concerned.

Assisting in the creation of a CBL playbook is among several tasks our PDC has taken on with its multi-year engagement with Empower Generations. If your school, school district, or youth development organization would like to learn more about Competency-Based Education, please watch the free webinar, What is Competency-Based Education, presented by the International North American Council for Online Learning (iNACOL).

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