Enter the matrix of competency-based education tools

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What is CBE?

Competency-based education (CBE) is a student-centered methodology of instruction that incorporates elements of constructivist philosophy, 21st Century Skills education, and flexible learning models. 

It is fast becoming adopted by many learning institutions because of its focus on learning useful and applicable skills rather than broad content and an increased emphasis on student responsibility for learning.

This can mean that students feel like they have to do a lot on their own, and it’s true; in CBE the teacher goes from being the Sage on the Stage to the Guide on the Side. 

Teachers act as facilitators of learning and guide the students as they struggle through learning different skills by monitoring their progress and providing feedback as they master each competency.

Because this shift in dynamic can be so different for both students and teachers, we have curated a list of tools and resources to use alongside the other blog posts in this series to help equip everyone for success. 

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a great place to look at things all in one place as you either teach or participate in a CBE course.

Resources and tools for teachers

Resource NameSubject(s)Resource TypesPaid or Free
ELeducationELA
Life sciences
Social studies
Lesson planning tools
Texts
Professional development
Free
Optional Paid Content
OER CommonsAllLesson planning tools
Activities
Full courses
Lectures
Texts
Free
Optional Paid Content
Khan AcademyAllLesson planning tools
Activities
Full courses
Lectures
Texts
Free
Optional Paid Content
OKC CBE ResourcesGeneral CBELesson planning tools
Readings
Rubrics
Free
Global Learning LandscapeGeneral education toolsLinks to platforms, websites,
and tech for teachers
Free
Education.comMath
Reading and writing
Typing
Coding
SEL
Lesson Planning Tools
Activities
Workbooks
Texts
Songs
Free
Cube for TeachersGeneral education ToolsVarious– teacher made and curated contentFree
GoNoodleELA
Health
Math
Music
Science
Social studies
Spanish
Lesson planning tools
Videos
Activities
Blog Posts
Free
US Department of EducationGeneral CBESearchable database of CBE programs
Overviews of successful programs
Free

Resources and tools for students

Resource NameSubject(s)Resource TypesPaid or Free
FrogutsBiologyVirtual labs
Videos
Lending library
Free
Physics InteractivesPhysicsInteractive simulations
Videos
Calculator
Study tools
Free
Science FridayGeneral scienceVideos
Podcasts
Articles
Activities
Free
Cells alive!BiologyVirtual labs
Videos
Activities
Study tools
Presentations
Free
Interactive Periodic TableGeneral science
Chemistry
Study Tools
Videos
Printables
Free
Optional paid resources
PhET SimulationsPhysics
Chemistry
Math
Earth science
Biology
Interactive simulations
Virtual labs
Activities
Videos
Study tools
Free
CodeacademyComputer scienceLessons
Coding tasks
Coding cheat sheets
Free
Optional paid resources
Academic EarthAll subjectsFull courses
Lessons
Videos
Activities
Free
Optional paid resources
DesmosMathematicsGeneral scienceCalculator tools
Lessons
Assessments
Free
Optional paid resources
Better ExplainedMathematicsBasic computer scienceLessons
Articles
Videos
Blog posts
Free
Optional paid resources
PreziPresentation softwareVideos
Tutorials
Free
Optional paid resources
CanvaPresentation softwareVideos
Tutorials
Social media Integrations
Free
Optional paid resources
BiteablePresentation softwareTutorials
Videos
Free
Optional paid resources
IXLAll subjectsFull courses
Lessons
Videos
Activities
Free
Optional paid resources
AudacityAudio editorDocumentation
Tutorials
Free
GimpImage editorDocumentation
Tutorials
Free
OpenShotVideo editorDocumentation
Tutorials
Integrations
Free
WikiversityAll subjectsFull courses
Lessons
Videos
Articles
Tutorials
Free
DuolingoForeign languagesFull courses
Lessons
Videos
App
Free
Optional paid resources

Final thoughts

While CBE is very much different from other types of learning, we hope that the tools listed here will be of help to learners and educators alike. 

Remember that part of learning in CBE is productive struggle and persistence, both on the teacher and student sides! Keep going and achieve mastery.

For more information on CBE, check out our previous research blogs about classroom challenges and CBE and how CBE is designed for student success.

Competency-Based Education Blog Series

Thank you for being a part of our Competency-Based Education blog series! Check out additional resources regarding CBE below:

  1.  Competency-based education and the classroom challenges
  2.  My child is taking a competency-based course. What should I expect?
  3.  4 differences between traditional teaching methods and competency-based education
  4.  Competency-based education in mathematics
  5.  Competency-based education in science
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Nikolas McGehee

Nikolas McGehee

Dr. Nikolas McGehee received his doctorate in Exceptional Learning and STEM Education from Tennessee Technological University. He has worked as a high school science teacher, university researcher, analyst, and project manager, as well as a STEM Education program manager. His professional career is focused upon improving educational processes and products by performing sound research and making data driven decisions.

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