A Qualitative Assessment of Professional Development in a Competency-Based Education Model
Competency-based education (CBE) is increasingly important in higher education, both in volume and pervasiveness, which increases the need for comprehensive, systematic, and effective program-based support and instruction for faculty and staff. The purpose of this qualitative Delphi study was to gather expert opinions about competency-based best practices in professional development, support, and training resources in order to effectively implement a CBE method at a university. The conceptual framework comprised of adult learning theory and competency-based education. Eight experts in competency-based education completed 2 rounds of anonymous questionnaires with open- and closed-ended questions. Data analysis involved a systematic process of coding and identifying themes. Results included a list of effective best practices for the professional development, support, and training resources that might be used to develop a community of practice online learning site for effective implementation of CBE methods. The results were further used to deliver a position paper that provided the research site with concrete descriptions of the important factors and mechanisms for CBE, as well as recommendations for action, including increased emphasis on Communities of Practice. Implications for positive social change include aiding higher education institutions in understanding the needs of faculty professional development, support, and training resources in a CBE method. In turn, adult learners who enroll in a CBE model will be able to attain a degree in less time and cost than in a traditional model, providing the learners with an opportunity to make an economic difference in society.