Florida University System

The Innovation Institute responded to the a metric, by the Florida Board of Governors’ 2025 Strategic Plan for Online Education, which stated that 50 percent of Florida’s SUS institutions will offer competency-based education (CBE) or adaptive learning in less than ten years.  After research, we launched Complete Florida, which includes success coaches, who proactively explore options with students for prior learning assessment during initial advising and program determination, with close coordination with partner institutions.

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The Challenge

The Florida Board of Governors’ 2025 Strategic Plan for Online Education includes a metric that 50 percent of Florida’s SUS institutions will offer competency-based education (CBE) or adaptive learning courses by 2025. Further, one of Complete Florida’s foundational goals is to leverage innovative strategies for degree completion for adults, including use of CBE and prior learning assessment. The questions of how best to leverage CBE and overcome barriers for individual institutions and the state were key elements of the Challenge.



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Our Approach

Innovators, researchers and staffers from the Innovation Institute working on Complete Florida coordinated two convenings to explore the status and future of CBE in Florida. In addition to Complete Florida partners, the Lumina Foundation, Florida Board of Governors staff and Florida College System staff collaborated to study and envision CBE in Florida. CBE experts from Indiana, Texas, and Kentucky along with key Florida stakeholders (such as the group managing common course numbering) joined a group of Deans, Directors, Chancellors Office’s staff, CF staff and others interested in CBE strategies, policies, and best practices. Participants were asked to share their experiences and best practices to generate ideas about how as a state, Florida could leverage CBE to accelerate degree progression and completion. The sessions (held January 6-7, 2016 and April 20-21, 2016 at the Florida Virtual Campus in Tallahassee, Florida) were comprised of a combination of seminar and workshop activities with experts providing background information, best practices, and future predictions as they answered questions from participants. Using methodology framed by the Innovation Institution’s IDEA Method, design thinking strategies and techniques were used to structure sessions, workshops, and processing. In-place accreditation, state, and institutional policies and practices were examined through techniques such as user personas, journey maps, and prototyping. Institute facilitators moderated sessions and activities, providing content, logistical, and design thinking expertise.



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The Result

Participants generated a proof of concept prototype model and “pitch” for CBE in Florida, along with recommendations on next steps. An active agenda related to competencies that could be aligned to prior learning assessment is being pursued with all CF partners to promote acceleration to degree completion. Complete Florida success coaches proactively explore options with students for prior learning assessment during initial advising and program determination, with close coordination with partner institutions. Work with the Graduate Network and CLEP led to dissemination of best practices and policies with colleagues through presentations and collaborations with Complete College America, CAEL, and FCAN.

Polk State College expanded its CBE offerings in January 2017 when a second specialization in Mechanical Design and Fabrication was added to their program of studies in Engineering Technology.  Incorporating an open entry, open access system, students combine competency-based content with hands-on laboratory experiences (http://tinyw.in/fxY2).

Miami-Dade College is part of the American Council on Education’s Alternative Credit Project (http://tinyw.in/BbWa). This project supports a variety of academic vendors that provide low-cost general education courses that is currently being accepted by Miami-Dade College in specific online programs.  

The University of Central Florida is implementing webcourses @ UCF Personalized Learning adaptive learning (http://tinyw.in/7ckt) to support Complete Florida students in a very personalized way to accelerate time to completion. UCF is leading the state in its implementation of adaptive learning.