After generations and much debate about the importance of a good education vs. the value of life-experience being competing essentials, Calgary’s innovative Bow Valley College (BVC) may have resolved the biased and subjective standoff. The answer is: both!
In fact, BVC is about to prove that one compliments the other. Starting in January, Bow Valley College will offer programs according to the vital and emerging concept of Competency-Based Education (CBE). And it’s a first in Alberta.
“The purpose of CBE is to ensure that students have the competencies that they require for specific job positions. Putting the learner at the centre of their education allows for personalized education plans,” says Alison Anderson, dean of Business, Technology and the Centre for Entertainment Arts at BVC. “The learner will be assessed at the beginning of the program determining what industry-validated competencies they already possess. In this way, the learner will receive credit for skills that they already have. A customized learning plan will be developed so the learner can chart their own pathway and work on the competencies whenever it fits into their lifestyle, with faculty to assist at every step. Classes will take place online, allowing the student to do coursework at times convenient for them.”
She explains that CBE was developed to transform the educational experience, by giving credit for knowledge the learner already has, develop individual learning pathways and provide competencies core to a job. The CBE concept enables learners to upskill in a non-traditional educational environment.
Education and business experts agree that competency-based education is an effective way to both save time and achieve academic goals as well as being job-ready for in-demand industries.
Following Ministry approval, applications have begun for the January 2022 start of initially two new BVC diploma programs: Cloud Computing and Data Management Analytics (DMA). “Both programs are for individuals with an IT background,” Anderson points out.
“The Cloud Computing post-diploma certificate program is designed to prepare early-career professionals for a career in Cloud computing, particularly in the development of Cloud-based applications. Learners will develop competencies from determined Cloud application requirements and the program also scaffolds to give learners the knowledge to develop specification and design architecture.
“The Data Management and Analytics post-diploma program prepares learners to uncover insights from unstructured data sets to inform data-driven decisionmaking,” she says. “Graduates will have experience with relational database systems, data warehousing, data quality improvement and visual analytics, along with an introduction to working with big data.”
The tremendous impact of technology on life, business and the workplace parallel with Calgary’s growing reputation as a tech-hub. It also combines to make the new BVC programs a natural fit.
“Besides,” Anderson adds with enthusiasm, “education is in a state of evolution. Now is the perfect time to open doors to education to help individuals reskill and upskill. With the need to train individuals in the digital economy and to help grow the economy of Calgary and Alberta. There is no better time to offer innovative, bold and flexible learning.”