Competency-Based Learning or Personalized Learning

Transitioning away from seat time in favor of a structure that creates flexibility allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time, place, or pace of learning. Competency-based strategies provide flexibility so that credit can be earned or awarded and provide students with personalized learning opportunities. These strategies include online and blended learning, dual enrollment and early college high schools, project-based, and community-based learning, and credit recovery, among others. This type of learning leads to better student engagement because it is relevant to each student and tailored to their unique needs. It also leads to better student outcomes because the pace of learning is customized to each student.

By enabling students to master skills at their own pace, competency-based learning systems help save time and money. Depending on the strategy pursued, competency-based systems also create multiple pathways to graduation, make better use of technology, support new staffing patterns that utilize teacher skills and interests differently, take advantage of learning opportunities outside of school hours and walls, and help identify opportunities to target interventions to meet the specific learning needs of students. Each of these presents an opportunity to achieve greater efficiency and increase productivity. Credit: USDOE