From Knowledge to Mastery: Competency-Based Education in Higher Education

There have been numerous styles of education, especially in today’s age of technological disruption such as lecture-based education which an instructor presents information to students through a lecture or presentation, experiential education a style of education that focuses on hands-on experiences such as internships or apprentices and personalized education a style of education that is tailored to the individual needs and interests of each student etc. In Thailand, the educational style is often standardized and rigid, oftentimes in line with lecture-based education. However, Engineering is a profession that requires high adaptability and innovativeness skill-set that a standardized learning style might not be the most suitable form of educational style. In a traditional setting, students are obliged to learn the same subjects as everyone else, at the same pace, regardless of their prior knowledge. There are numerous  obligatory courses, but only a few electives. Thus, questions have been raised about how we can transform engineering education. How might the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of students learning in the AI and computer engineering field be assessed, described, and analyzed in order to achieve optimum results for students?

To address this issues, CMKL University has introduce a new type of learning style called competency based learning. Competency-based education (CBE) is a learning approach that is based on the assessment of each competency level (Mastery level) to receive the desired level of credit, with each competency level being clearly defined. This is different from the normal learning style that bases the credit on the number of hours in class or activities. The advantage of CBE enables students a flexible learning period, which is in line with the rapid development of technology in the current social environment. This feature has allowed users from different learning backgrounds to access the curriculum without the concern of the traditional time frame. CBE has a defining competency assessment based on a skill set of the learner's knowledge and characteristics as the initial basis. Thus, the learners need to display their abilities, demonstrating that they are able to surpass their initial skills. 

With competency based education as an initial basis, CMKL University has develop the AiCE Competency Card to integrate an AI and Computer Engineering curriculum. It is designed to focus on the relevant knowledge and application domains where AI technologies can be applied. A competency is a collection of skills that includes not just knowledge acquisition but also the ability to use that knowledge in certain ways. The competency card is a relevant tool for highlighting competencies that students have learned in their studies. This competency deck will help to demonstrate what type of learning modules would best fit which individuals, giving students a preliminary view of domains that would create a possible future job opportunity. In order to assess whether and how students have learned and acquired a set of competency, we are developing A1CE Platform, an AI assisted learning platform that allows students to advance based on their ability to master a skill or competency at their own pace through a gamified environment.

This type of competency-based learning encourages students to explore new areas and to continuously improve themselves. They are competing only against themselves, on a path to broadening and deepening their understanding and their capabilities. With the combination of competency based learning and A1CE applications, CMKL University prepare our students to be among the leading engineers in this age of rapidly changing technological landscape.




Nutsupa Sukprasith