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CBE, Pacing, Differentiation, Personalization

CBE, Pacing, Differentiation, Personalization

Author: Kathleen Johnson

In this lesson learners will examine the roles of pacing, differenciation and personalization in CBE.

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Source: Digital Access Key Image; Morgue File;

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Hello, ladies and gentlemen. I hope you're having a wonderful day today. Today, we're going to go ahead and look at competency based education, along with pacing, differentiation, and personalization. And for today's lesson, I've chosen a quote by Soren Kierkegaard, which states, "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward."

So for the end of today's lesson, you will meet the following objectives. By the end of the lesson, you will be able to review the CBE background and pacing, as well as connect CBE to personalization and differentiation. So first, let's go ahead and take a look at the overview of CBE, and then a little more information about pacing within competency based education.

So first and foremost, within competency based education systems, you're going to find that there are often many different pathways towards graduation. So this really helps all students meet those learning goals. Also, competency based education systems really help incorporate technology so that we can make better use of that technology within the classrooms.

A lot of different strategies within CBE include online or blended learning environments. Oftentimes, students can be dually-enrolled in both high school, as well as early college elements. And then there's also really great opportunities for project-based and then community-based learning, so that students can incorporate the learning that they're doing within the community, as well as credit recovery programs and many other ways to use that technology and incorporate it into the classroom.

Another main thing you'll notice about competency based education systems is that it really helps utilize new teacher skills and interests. So this helps adjust staffing patterns, so that teachers are really being used in a new way as opposed to a more traditional way.

And finally, a great thing about competency based education systems is that it helps us to really introduce learning opportunities that are outside of the school, and then to target and offer interventions for those struggling students. So we're both expanding the learning environment for some, as well as targeting and really meeting the needs of specific students and what they need to help learn best.

When we look at that, what we can really kind of sum up is that competency based education systems really help to increase both the effectiveness of teaching and learning, as well as the efficiency. So we're doing more with less time.

Now, when we talk about CBE specifically with pacing, what we're really looking at is the idea that CBE is student-paced. What this means is that students are really able to master those skills. So they are able to focus in on their own pace. And then within competency based learning, help to develop those skills so they can work as quickly or as slowly as they really need to work in order to master those skills.

Also, competency based education, specifically because it is student-paced, helps to save time and money, because we're not having to slow down. So some students are able to work through the education faster. Some teachers are able to reach more students and really help them kind of get into their own groove, helping to really make the best use of the teacher in the classroom as we can. Finally, within CBE, outcomes tend to be improved, because the pace of learning is able to be customized to each individual student.

So that's a little bit of an overview of competency based education and a look at its pacing. Now I want to look at competency based education, specifically within personalization and differentiation.

So within competency based education, that approach, the goal really there is for students to learn in a manner that's best for them. So they can learn in whatever way that really helps them to demonstrate their competency of a particular area. Also, within competency based education, when we talk about the concept of personalization, when we look at personalization, personalization is really there to help students choose how they learn best.

So you can see that there is a bit of an overlap there. Within personalization, students are the one who are choosing whether they can learn best individually or whether they're better learners within groups. Or when they're in those groups, what particular role they should play in order to best kind of maximizing that learning.

And then when we look at differentiation, the differentiation instructional model really looks at supporting the idea that instruction is designed to follow some of those many different pathways. So again, the student learning within differentiation is based then more on preference and also on the level of competency. So how much does the student know? And what is the best way that they prefer to learn in order to make that happen?

Now, you'll notice with all three of these different approaches, with competency based education, personalization, and differentiation, student choice is a key area of emphasis when we talk about all three, really giving students that choice and the ability to voice those choices. When we talk about this approach to learning, giving students those choices and that voice in this matter, we tend to see much better student engagement. Because if the student is the one choosing it, then the content tends to be more relevant to each student, and it can be more tailored to their unique learning.

So then, when we look at all of those, the result can be that students are able to play a much more active role within that learning, in terms of the pace that they are learning at, as well as the approach that they enter the classroom with, their approach to learning. So if I was going to kind of give you an example of a way in which you could instruct, then what I'm going to do is I want to talk about how it can be enhanced, really, if we look at it through personalization, differentiation, and CBE.

So an example of an instructional approach might be the lecturing to students, right? So that would be a pretty common one, where the teacher comes in and lectures. However, if we look at competency based education, then what we're doing is we're saying, here's the material I'm going to lecture on, but instead of me lecturing to you, I am going to give the students the opportunity to determine the way in which they can best come at that information.

So perhaps some it would be sitting down and having me, one on one, discuss that with them and lecture it to them. For others, it would be investigating news articles about the certain element or doing research on that. And for others, it might be getting hands-on experience with what it is that I'm discussing.

When we talk about personalization, personalization then would reflect having students choosing the way in which that they are going to learn that, right? So competency based education, the students are demonstrating their mastery of the material. In personalization, the students are choosing how best they can acquire that information. And then within differentiation, we're also looking at the level of competency.

So perhaps for some, if I'm lecturing on the use of tone in a particular text, perhaps for some of my students, I would use a simpler text with a more obvious element of tone. And for other students, I might be able to choose a more complex text. Again, allowing each student to tweak the learning that they're getting based on that level of competency.

Now that we've reached the end of the lesson, you are able to review the competency based education background and a little bit about pacing, as well as connect competency based education to both personalization, as well as to differentiation. Now, that we've reached the end of the lesson, I want you to reflect just a little bit on personalization and differentiation and think about some of the ways that you instruct and how you might be able to make some changes to your instruction based on what you've learned about each of those two areas.

To dive a little deeper and learn how you can apply this information, be sure to check out the Additional Resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find those links that are targeted toward really helping you discover more ways to apply this course material.

Notes on "CBE, Pacing, Differentiation, Personalization"

(00:00-00:19) Intro

(00:20-00:34) Objectives

(00:35-03:49) CBE Overview & Pacing

(03:50-07:39) CBE Personalization & Differentiation

(07:40-08:25) Review & Reflection

Additional Resources

Education Matters: Personalization in Education

Katarina Stevens explores different approaches to meeting the needs of all learners, including CBE, differentiation, and Universal Design for Learning. Stevens emphasizes the importance of the relationship between the teacher and the students.

Blending toward competency 

The Christensen Institute explores findings on CBE in New Hampshire based on their blending learning program.