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Walden's Pioneering Efforts Pave the Way for Competency-Based Education

In light of rising college tuitions, Walden University steps forward to provide a new solution that can save students time and money.

In light of rising college tuitions, Walden steps forward to provide a new solution that can save students time and money.

For those in the market for a graduate degree, the price tag can be more intimidating then the actual coursework that lies ahead. And while virtually all universities—both traditional and online—are more than happy to steer students toward financial aid, few universities are developing new business models designed to combat the expenses of higher education. Walden University is an exception.

The term pioneer is not new to Walden University. Walden was an early leader in the development of online degree programs, and later showed the world a new side of its pioneering spirit by incorporating social change into the higher education experience.

In a recent article published by Inside Higher Education, Walden University was singled out as a pioneer in the development of competency-based education. The article, which focused on this new approach to learning, shared results from a report by the RPK GROUP that examined competency-based education in greater detail. According to the study, competency-based education attempts to use lower price points, efficiencies in content creation and delivery, and economies of scale to reduce the university’s operating costs and improve affordability for students.*

“We view competency-based education as not only a way to reduce the overall cost of earning a degree, but also a way of providing students the freedom and control to earn a degree on their own terms,” said Brendan Farley, Walden University’s executive director of product management. “By doing both, we believe we can make high-quality degree programs more accessible to those who don’t have the time and money to complete traditional course-based programs.”

With competency-based education, students don’t enroll in courses. Instead, they master specific advanced skills, or competencies, at a pace that is within the scope of the program but works well for the student. Faculty members and academic coaches play a large role guiding students through the program. In addition, the online university provides specific learning resources while students apply their own knowledge acquired through work, life experiences, and prior education. As a mastery of each competency is demonstrated through competency-based assessments, credit is earned. Once a mastery of all the competencies in the competency-based program is shown, a degree or certificate is awarded.

When it comes time to compare colleges and universities, it is important to consider the competency-based education programs being offered. Walden University currently offers three competency-based master’s programs and two online graduate certificate programs.

About Strut Learning: 

Founded in 2014 Strut offers proven, award-winning services and products that enable clients to innovate, transform and grow enrollments. Flexible, complete, high-quality GE, AA, BBA, MAOL accredited degree programs and a next-generation technology ecosystem radically reduce cost, complexity and time to market. Strut is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) learning company focused on enrollment growth. Our work redefines student support, retention and success required to attract techno-savvy millennial and generation-X students and grow. What’s a Strut? In short, we combine out of the box best in class LMS technology with an internal OPM model that empowers colleges and universities to efficiently deploy popular, high-quality online and hybrid programs in under 100 days; proven to grow enrollments. Strut invested $110M in a world-class technology platform designed to provide institutions with the power to rapidly (under 100 days) deploy a disruptive technology ecosystem and complete quality degree self-paced programs (GE, AA, BBA, BSIT, MAOL). Strut’s award-winning technology ecosystem is already in use at leading public and private institutions. Unlike others, who leverage third-party vendors to assemble a viable ecosystem - Strut delivers a proven and complete platform - able to effectively and efficiently provide instruction at scale. To help our partners modernize and optimize online offerings, we offer expert instructional planning and design services. Learn more about Strut Learning’s award-winning technologies and services by visiting our website.

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