JEVS Human Services has teamed up with a nonprofit university to offer a unique post-secondary education to help residents in the Delaware Valley to earn a degree. Drawing upon insights from workforce and industry leaders, the accredited degree programs are designed to support individuals in developing the competencies needed to advance their careers.
In our Frequently Asked Questions Series, we explain how this new partnership provides degree seekers with a much different opportunity than other college programs. Read on for question one (how this competency-based program works) or find the other FAQs here:
QUESTION 1: The EduConnect program is competency-based. What does that mean and how does this differ from a “traditional” degree program or online program?
A. In a competency-based learning system you are asked to “show what you know” by demonstrating mastery of skills. Once you show mastery of a skill or competency, you can move onto the next competency. You can set the pace. The competencies in the curriculum are all aligned to the workplace and what employers are saying are critical skills they need in their employees. In the program, you complete and submit a project to show what you know. After a submission, university faculty will review the task and assign a “mastered” or “not yet.” You can think of “mastered” as the “A” in a traditional education system. With a “not yet” you get immediate teacher feedback so that you can revise and resubmit to achieve mastery. You can move at your own pace to submit and master competencies. There are no credit hours to fulfill; the quality of your work stands on its own.
Think of competency-based learning as the opposite of “seat time.” In high school and college, most of us sat in seats for a number of hours, days, periods and months. However, the time we sat in that seat did not mean we mastered a certain set of knowledge. Sitting in that seat in freshman English did not mean you mastered writing. The quality of you writing shows you mastered writing. For someone working my car, I don’t care how much time they spent in an automotive classroom. I care about that they were able to demonstrate mastery of repairing an actual engine. In the EduConnect program, seat time is gone and it is up to the learner to show what they know or demonstrate mastery. There are no tests or quizzes in the competency model; there are real world projects that you can complete at your own pace. Employers have told us that this is what they are looking for- people who can do the work and not just say they have x,y,z credits in a particular area.
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