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"Complexities and connections: Credit hour and competency-based education" is a podcast interview with Amy Laitinen, deputy director of Higher Education at the New America Foundation. Laitinen advocates for a shift from the traditional credit hour to competency-based education. Laitinen supports her view by offering a brief historical summary highlighting the original purpose of and challenges of the credit hour. Laitinen also explains the differences among competency- based education, prior learning assessment, and direct assessment and how each plays a role in the future of higher education. Laitinen encourages the use of experimental sites to help inform and enhance policy development regarding competency-based education for the future of higher education.

Interview facilitation, commentary and discussion presented by Kathryn Dodge, Alison Griffin, and Elise Scanlon of Radio Higher Ed.

Publication Date



Radio Higher Ed, LLC

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Copyright © 2013 Radio Higher Ed . All Rights Reserved. Podcast Intro and Exit music by Won (FLT RSK) / CC BY-NC 3.0 Produced in conjunction with the Average Guy Podcast Network.

RadioHigherEd017F001.mp3 (5068 kB)
A historical perspective on how the credit hour became a proxy for student learning in higher education (5:24)

RadioHigherEd017F002.mp3 (7086 kB)
Competency-based education, prior learning assessment and direct assessment defined (7:33)

RadioHigherEd017F003.mp3 (2084 kB)
Is competency-based education No Child Left Behind for higher education? (2:13)

RadioHigherEd017F004.mp3 (1501 kB)
How does competency-based education contribute to/relate to the accountability discussion? (1:35)

RadioHigherEd017F005.mp3 (4009 kB)
Faculty engagement in a competency-based model of education (4:16)

RadioHigherEd017F006.mp3 (3900 kB)
What are some of the main criticisms of a competency-based model for higher education? (4:09)

RadioHigherEd017F007.mp3 (5917 kB)
Accreditation and regulation: the tension between oversight and innovation (6:19)

RadioHigherEd017F008.mp3 (2813 kB)
Creating a safe regulatory space for experimentation and innovation (2:59)

RadioHigherEd017F009.mp3 (6753 kB)
The value of externally validated criteria and transparency of student achievement in competency-based education (7:12)

RadioHigherEd017F010.mp3 (2141 kB)
Experimental sites could provide laboratory in advance of HEA Reauthorization (2:16)

RadioHigherEd017F011.mp3 (16235 kB)
Commentary and Analysis (17:20)