Performance Based Learning (PBL)

Adapting existing courses to the PBL model provides an opportunity for faculty to think through the goals and pedagogical approach for their course. It does not require that course content be changed, nor does it dictate how a course will be taught, or limit the instructor’s creativity. All courses can be adapted to a PBL framework with the instructor retaining full control over how the course will be delivered.

To adapt courses to the PBL model, the emphasis shifts from evaluating what the students know to a more student centered focus of evaluating what the students are able to do with their knowledge. This shift has been occurring as course competencies are written using performance verbs from Bloom’s Taxonomy at the application level or higher. Bloom’s Taxonomy is a multi-tiered model of classifying levels of complexity in thinking and performing, and is used to guide the creation of course competencies. There are 3-6 competencies developed for every credit hour associated with a course. Course level instruction and assessment are directly aligned with these competencies. Bloom’s Taxonomy can be found at this link.

The course level work is the foundation used to support the performance based learning evaluation at both the program level, using program outcomes, and at the institution level, using core abilities. Departments are able to create an action plan to best meet the student and departmental needs, using the data collected in the evaluation to guide them. The continuous quality improvement aspect of performance based learning is embedded within the process and allows all levels of instruction and evaluation to support each other. The Operations, Curriculum, and Assessment team is available to assist faculty members, as needed, as they move through this process.

Resources for Faculty

For faculty interested in reading more about Performance Based Learning, here are some readily available resources. Numerous books and scholarly articles also address this topic.

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