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Compare and Contrast CBE and Deeper Learning in Curriculum Design and Implementation

Compare and Contrast CBE and Deeper Learning in Curriculum Design and Implementation

Author: Jody Waltman

In this lesson, students will compare and contrast CBE and Deeper Learning in curriculum design and implementation.

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In this tutorial, we'll compare Competency-Based Education and Deeper Learning. We'll begin with a review of Deeper Learning theory. And then we'll review the elements of Competency-Based Education. Finally, we'll compare and contrast CBE and Deeper Learning by identifying the similarities and differences. Let's get started.

Deeper Learning theory, or Deeper Learning for All, is an idea in which we emphasize rigorous core content being provided in innovative ways, with opportunities for students to apply their learning and to develop the competencies that are going to be necessary for them in their future education and in their careers. The Deeper Learning core competencies, as identified by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, include having students master core academic content, think critically and solve complex problems, work collaboratively, communicate effectively, learn how to learn, and develop academic mindsets.

Next let's look at the elements of Competency-Based Education. At a 2011 summit, iNACOL, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, identified five principles of Competency-Based Education. First, students advance upon mastery. Second, explicit and measurable learning objectives empower students. Third, assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students. The fourth principle states that students receive rapid differentiated support. And principle number five states that learning outcomes that are emphasized include the application and creation of knowledge.

So implementing these five principles of CBE allows us to create an environment in which students are able to demonstrate mastery before moving on to the next objective on their learning path. The learning targets and expectations for students are clearly communicated. And standards-based assessments are being used to measure mastery. Interventions and retakes are available for students who are not able to demonstrate mastery on the first try. And students' personalized learning paths are aligned with standards-based outcomes.

So how do CBE and Deeper Learning compare? Well, first and foremost, CBE is actually just one of many methods that can be used in order to help our students achieve deeper learning. In fact, Competency-Based Education and Deeper Learning share several design principles. First is the idea that students need to demonstrate mastery or proficiency of a skill before moving on. Also, in both methodologies, interventions and retakes are provided for students who are not able to demonstrate mastery on the first try. And finally, in both methods, clear expectations of the learning targets are provided for students.

There are some notable differences, however, between CBE and Deeper Learning. More specifically, there may be some other approaches to Competency-Based Education that don't incorporate all of the specific elements of Deeper Learning. For example, Deeper Learning requires us to use authentic situations and outside of school settings in order to have students demonstrate their mastery of the knowledge and the competencies. Furthermore, if we are focusing on accomplishing CBE through the use of adaptive learning technology, this really doesn't address the collaboration or communication elements of Deeper Learning either.

One more approach that is sometimes used to implement Competency-Based Education is project-based learning. And though both project-based learning and CBE have the requirement of using critical thinking skills, creativity, collaboration, and communication to solve real world problems, and they also both require students to present their findings to an authentic audience, the big difference here is that project-based learning does not necessarily specify that any of the learning or the demonstration of the knowledge has to take place outside of the classroom. Whereas in Deeper Learning, again, the outside of school setting element is required.

In this tutorial, we reviewed both Deeper Learning and Competency-Based Education. And then we looked at the similarities and differences between these two methodologies. So here's a chance for you to stop and reflect. If you are currently implementing Competency-Based Education, think about the approach that you are using to do so. Does that approach incorporate the elements of Deeper Learning?

As you reflect on how this new information can be applied, you may want to explore the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. This is where you'll find links to resources chosen to help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly acquired skill set. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.

Notes on "Compare and Contrast CBE and Deeper Learning in Curriculum Design and Implementation"

(00:00 - 00:23) Introduction

(00:24 - 01:06) Deeper Learning

(01:07 - 02:19) CBE

(02:20 - 04:12) CBE and Deeper Learning

(04:13 - 04:22) Review

(04:23 - 04:57) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

In Rhode Island, Reinventing Summer School to Prevent Kids’ Learning Loss

This PBS NewsHour session focuses on a summer learning program designed using the tenets of Deeper Learning. Inner city students were provided learning opportunities through internship-type experiences rather than the traditional summer school credit recovery model.

Teachers Design for Education (TD4Ed) Projects

Are you interested in using the design principles to bring CBE or Deeper Learning into your organization, but are not certain where to begin? The TD4Ed program helps teachers and educators engage in design thinking and action research to implement solutions. The link provided reviews projects that are currently underway. Training is a six week online process and free for teacher teams.

Deeper Learning For Every Student Every Day 

This paper provides a comprehensive overview of Deeper Learning, examining the connections between Deeper Learning and competency based education. In addition, the paper includes examples of Deeper Learning in action as well as common misconception of Deeper Learning.

Deeper Learning Competencies: April 2013

This is a great resource from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation's Deeper Learning Initiative that connects competencies to Deeper Learning.