CBT Red Tape
Competency Based Training is a concept that became popular in the 1980's.
It seemed like a good idea at the time; and was adopted by many government backed vocational education systems; and is still used by some (Others have moved away from the concept).
The idea is that you beat vocational learning down into well defined skills or competencies. Teaching is then focused on getting a student to demonstrate that they are competent to perform each skill. Once determined as competent; you can check off that component of learning as having been achieved; and move onto the next component.
This concept is very attractive to bureaucrats and politicians who need ways of quantifying learning. They can determine how many competencies are achieved by how many people; then provide funding accordingly to a college or student. They can issue qualifications; or release statistics according to the quantity of competencies achieved.
CBT is Problematic!
For anyone who really understands education though; learning is not so simple.
Learning is not something that is so readily quantified; and every individual learns in different ways. For instance:
- one person might learn fewer competencies; but develop an ability to relate those competencies to each other; combining them to create new and innovative solutions.
- another may learn the same competencies, but not perceive how to apply them to the same degree.
- one person might learn a competency, perform it and pass the assessment; then forget most of what they learnt a few weeks later; while another may study the same competency for a lot longer, until it becomes second nature to them; and remember it well even years later.
Assessment is more important in CBT
Assessing the student cannot be excluded from a CBT course. If you don't assess, you can't tick off the competency. When CBT courses comes under funding pressures, there is a tendency to diminish the resources being put into teaching; rather than reducing resources allocated to assessment.
This does not happen when learning is kept as a much higher priority than assessment.
At the end of the day; the long term value of any course must be what a person learnt; and how that helped them grow their abilities after studying.
Retired TAFE Chief Blasts Reform Bungle (An extract from the Australian Newspaper, Wed 23rd July 2014; pg 27 Higher Education Supplement)
This extract illustrates how badly an education system can go, when focus is taken off learning and moved elsewhere. This is a CBT system!
"Skills reform in Australia is an absolute shamozzle, and is jepardising a world class vocational education and training system, says recently retired chief executive of TAFE South Australia.
Jeff Gunningham told a Melbourne forum that bureaucratic bungling and an obsession with the bottom line was degrading training and threatening the very existence of public colleges"
ACS Courses are Different
Our courses focus on learning by experience (experiential learning).
They aim to take students through various different encounters that expose them to things they need to learn. These can include reading, doing research, undertaking automated self assessments, visiting and observing different things in different places; and much more. By encountering the same concepts and bits of information in different places, at different times and in different ways; the learning builds in layers; facts and skills are developed and reinforced each t5ime they are revisited; and that increases the student's ability to retain what they learn.