Pearson Unveils Competency-Based Education Playbook and Resources to Help Colleges and Universities Develop Successful Programs

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Strategies for Launching a CBE Program to be Featured in Workshop at Cite 2016, Feb. 9-11

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The higher education research firm, Eduventures, estimates that by 2020, competency-based education (CBE) has the potential to grow to as many as 750 programs with more than 500,000 students at U.S. colleges and universities. To support this growing trend, Pearson today launched the CBE Playbook—a framework to help higher education leaders think about, organize, and manage the many phases and decisions involved in developing a successful CBE program.

CBE is an approach that places students at the center of the learning process. In a CBE environment, students master skills at their own pace, on their own time and at the location of their choosing, leading to stronger engagement and better outcomes. CBE personalizes learning by using technology familiar to students and taking advantage of learning opportunities outside the normal confines of a building or school. Successful CBE programs provide greater flexibility for adult learners, reduce costs for institutions and provide students with validated skills that are highly valued by employers.

The core of the playbook is seven workstreams that organize the areas of functional decision-making and effort required to launch a CBE program. Each workstream represents a set of functions, key decisions, and strategy areas that form the building blocks of a comprehensive CBE program initiative, and each poses an overarching question. The workstreams include strategy and integration; organization; program development; student success; technology; management; and enrollment and marketing.

“To develop this playbook, our researchers reviewed and analyzed numerous successful CBE programs and initiatives underway, as well as the key policies and regulations, market dynamics, and student and employer preferences that are shaping the landscape,” said Gerald M. DiGiusto, director, Higher Education Consulting Services, Pearson. “The CBE Playbook provides a high-level overview of the components and key decisions associated with launching a CBE program that achieves the strategic goals of colleges and universities and drives the success of their students.”

The CBE Playbook will be featured in a workshop, “Let’s Launch a CBE Program: An A-Z Workshop” at the 2016 Cite Online Learning Conference, live in Amelia Island, Florida and virtually. The workshop, scheduled for Feb. 9 from Noon-3 p.m., will be conducted by Pearson's Paul Bowers, manager, Higher Education Consulting Services, and features pioneering CBE leaders such as Southern New Hampshire University’s College for America's Cathrael (Kate) Kazin, J.D., Ph.D., chief academic officer.

CBE Resources:
In addition to the Complete Playbook, the CBE suite of resources include: the Abbreviated CBE Playbook, Developing a CBE Program: Four Key Decisions Whitepaper, and Defining Competencies and Outlining Assessment Strategies for CBE.

Recent CBE Webinars:
The CBE Playbook: Curriculum Development Impact, Student Support, and Faculty Roles. View the slides and recording.
The CBE Playbook: Employers & Employability. View the recording.
The CBE Playbook: Top Tactics and Most Overlooked Strategies. View the recording.

For more information on how Pearson works with institutions to design, launch, and support successful CBE programs, visit

About Pearson
Pearson is the world’s leading learning company, with 40,000 employees in more than 80 countries working to help people of all ages to make measurable progress in their lives through learning. For more information about Pearson, visit

Media Contact: Scott Overland, scott(dot)overland(at)pearson(dot)com, 202-909-4520

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