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Rasmussen College (MN)

Competency-based education at Rasmussen College is accomplished through a unique hybrid delivery model called “Flex Choice,” which incorporates self-paced competency-based courses and traditional faculty-led courses into a single program. In this model, students have the option to complete some credits, at no additional cost, via self-paced courses that use simulation experiences to develop and formatively assess essential career competencies; their remaining credits are completed in traditional faculty-led courses.

Rasmussen College began piloting the competency-based courses developed by Collegis Education in fall 2013, and by spring 2014 the Business Management Associate Degree became the first program to offer some of the nine courses through the Flex Choice option. Since this launch, the college has added the Flex Choice option to nine residential and online programs. Currently, over 500 students are enrolled in programs with the Flex Choice option, and the student demographic is similar to that of the College overall. Rasmussen College serves students who may not have been successful in prior attempts to earn a degree, and the Flex Choice model has been favorably received, as it particularly appeals to the College’s adult learners who have some previous education or work experience. These students tend to be more confident and self-directed and value the flexibility of this model as it enables them to balance their work, family, and educational commitments while completing their degree in a timely and affordable manner.

The introduction of competency-based courses prompted Rasmussen College to streamline and reimagine its operation, tuition, and curriculum structures to support the scale of this new delivery modality.

Plans to expand the competency-based education program include expanding assessment and learning analytics capabilities, continuing to evolve a competency-based curricular structure, building a larger library of competency-based tools that can serve as practice opportunities, test-outs, or self-paced courses in these and other programs. In addition, the college plans to launch a direct assessment program while participating in the Department of Education’s Experimental Sites Initiative.