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Trends on Online Education

At the College, we are running an online-competency based exam that is part of our Quality Assurance Program this year. We wanted to create a resource that was cost-effective, efficient, engaging and innovative on how to teach and evaluate registrants knowledge on regulatory requirements.

Before we embarked on this endeavour, we wanted to find the best way we could do this. During research, I stumbled upon an article by Michelle R. Weise and Clayton M. Christensen on an engagement technique based on online competency training. Next, I share my insights on this educational trend.

Competency-based education differs from traditional higher education in that rather than assessing a student based upon time spent in class and assignments, the student is assessed upon demonstration of the knowledge and/or skills required to meet an established skill set.


Competency-based training methods and online learning are not something new. But when put together, it creates an innovative approach to education. According to Michelle R. Weise and Clayton M. Christensen, online competency-based education incorporates not only the right learning model, but the right technologies, customers, and instructional goals.

Weise and Christensen go on to explain that providers of online competency-based training "can cost-effectively combine modules of learning into pathways that are agile and adaptable to the changing labor market." Translating this into our nursing profession, by breaking down learning into competencies, we are able to adapt it to the changes in the scope of practice.

By combining learning modules with assessments to effectively measure competencies, online competency-based learning opportunities help our registrants to build on their own skills, abilities, and knowledge. It allows easier access to education, as well as a more personalized, flexible, and a customized learning experience.

Moreover, the data collected on these assessments, help our organization to improve course content to help our registrants overcome practice issues and address issues as they occur. As a result, the quality of the exam will only continue to improve.