Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) received a U.S. Dept. of Labor Round 4 TAACCCT grant in 2014 called “Knowledge to Work: A Portal for Competencies and Individualized Learning.” With this support, the College developed seven, direct assessment CBE programs with different exit points in the fields of IT (including cybersecurity), health information management, and administrative support technology. These were aligned with nationally recognized, competency frameworks of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).
LFCC received approval to offer these direct assessment programs from its regional accrediting agency, the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in July 2015 and enrolled students in them from fall 2015 through spring 2017. The College then moved to a course-based CBE model, and has continued to redesign and offer CBE aligned courses in these programs, including general education requirements. An eighth program in supervision was approved by SACSCOC for course-based CBE. Other programs at LFCC, such as early childhood education, are also experimenting with a CBE course model.
At the heart of LFCC’s approach is the use of free and low-cost open educational resources (OER) tied to competencies and the TAACCCT grant funded several digital librarians and faculty in the program disciplines. LFCC developed open source software to provide personalized learning plans for faculty and career coaches to track competencies for prior learning assessment (PLA) and new educational activities, as well for case management and to produce an Extended Transcript. LFCC was part of the IMS Global CBE Record Data Standard work group that worked on this.
Software and data for personalized learning plans, using competencies, and searching for OER were pushed online in 2016 through a free portal called Knowledge to Work, now available in English and Spanish at http://knowledgetowork.com. The portal is designed to promote work-based learning to help users develop new competencies. It has been expanded to focus on job seekers and incumbent workers and incorporates USDOL’s Career One Stop, Competency Model Clearinghouse, and O*NET occupational data. The portal operates separately from the credit CBE programs, but is used to promote competencies aligned with instructional materials to students and faculty, as well as for prior learning assessment.
With the completion of this TAACCCT-funded work in September 2018, LFCC is looking for ways to continue the portal. It has been expanded with braided funding from a Workforce Investment Board’s America’s Promise grant to include more occupations and to leverage USDOL information from Career One Stop, the Competency Model Clearinghouse, and O*NET occupational data with knowledge, skills, abilities, and work competencies mapped to thousands of OER.