NCATC Friends and Colleagues,
Some questions have been rattling around in my head as I reflect on NCATC’s Pillar 3—Competency-Based Learning and Industry-Recognized Credentials:
Today, knowledge is growing exponentially. In many fields, the useful life of knowledge is now measured in months rather than years. According to Cathy Gonzalez, in her 2004 paper on “The Role of Blended Learning in the World of Technology”:
One of the most persuasive factors is the shrinking half-life of knowledge. The “half-life of knowledge” is the timespan from when knowledge is gained to when it becomes obsolete. Half of what is known today was not known 10 years ago. The amount of knowledge in the world has doubled in the past 10 years and is doubling every 18 months according to the American Society of Training and Documentation. To combat the shrinking half-life of knowledge, organizations have been forced to develop new methods of deploying instruction. (Frey, Thomas. "Just-in-Case Learning versus Just-in-Time Learning." Futurist Speaker, 10/8/2020, www.futuristspeaker.com)
While there is clearly not a single answer as to whether to lean towards “just in time” over “just in case” learning (you clearly want your physician to receive a thorough, rigorous, and comprehensive medical education), recognizing the half-life of knowledge as it applies to many roles in advanced manufacturing is vital to understanding the value of competency-based education and industry certifications.
Three Markets: I often break down our workforce into three piles—the Emerging Workforce, the Incumbent Workforce, and the Transitioning Workforce.
So, what can we do to advance the ideas of competency-based learning and industry credentials in our partner institutions? Colleges need to foster ongoing, robust conversation between educators and industry to ensure that relevant and current credentials are used, understood, and promoted; faculty need to hold the credentials that industry values (in addition to their academic credentials); colleges need methods for transcripting microcredentials and industry certifications alongside academic achievement; and competency-based systems and credit for prior learning systems need to be accessible and easily leveraged by students.
Not easy tasks, but critical steps for colleges to continue helping keep our workforce trained, competitive, and productive.
It’s been my pleasure to serve as NCATC’s board president this year. I encourage you to reach out to me with suggestions, questions, or comments.
2023 NCATC President