I like to see the progress and movement we are experiencing with competency-based learning. In 2011, I started Skills Based Approach; I do not think there is much difference in what the phrases represent.
A key aspect of this type of learning is an assessment – evaluation or estimation of a person’s ability. It is intriguing to play a game, complete a project, or take a test and through an assessment get an accurate portrayal of a competency – like taking the SAT, GMAT, or LCAT, which produces a score of a capability in a field of study. But these standardized tests have a similar shortcoming in that they do not consider the context behind the knowledge –experiences.
For this reason and others, I think there is significant value in tracking the successful completion of learning tasks – a record of learning. An assessment might be included within or after a task or series of tasks.
To illustrate the relationship between a task and assessment, consider this example. The task is to read a chapter in a book and answer the required questions. A teacher is pleased if everyone has completed the task, he or she has something to work with in the lecture. An assessment takes a next step and evaluates how he or she answered the questions to determine a grade and perhaps what task to do next.
A few reasons why there is value in tracking the completion of tasks, a record of learning:
- Provide context based on experiences. Get a basic understanding of what learning has taken place and how.
- Develop a learning plan. Move through a series of tasks based on performance.
- Track methods and applications. Understand how skills are applied.
- Get credit for non-required learning. There are many ways of learning outside of the classroom.
- Include cross disciplinary knowledge. Tasks often involve learning skills in different areas.
Tracking learning on a task level is unobtrusive and guided by students. A learning label represents a task. For each task, a learner adds the label to their collection and records their progress. At this stage, the process is simple.
Skills Label is an ideal platform to track learning for the following reasons:
- Quantifies learning with Skill Points. A proprietary algorithm calculates Skill Points, a learning gain for each skill in the task.
- Creates a basis (language) to interpret learning over time – skills, their underlying methods and applications, and education and training standards.
- Connects into a series (learning plan, project, or course) based on performance – create up to ten different scenarios for each task.
- Establishes a basis of comparison. It is possible to compare different types of tasks, such as books, games, and activities.
- Contains all skills. In addition to technical skills, foundational thinking, cross-disciplinary, and soft skills are included on the learning labels.