FLAGSTAFF, AZ: A recent
survey by an independent research agency reveals that Northern Arizona
University’s (NAU) competency-based education (CBE) model, Personalized
Learning, exceeds students’ expectations.
Personalized Learning is an innovative
way to earn a college degree online. This competency-based
education program reimagines the college experience by focusing on developing
key skills and knowledge areas called competencies. The online, self-paced degrees
are designed for non-traditional students who have work and life experience and
want to earn a bachelor’s degree for career advancement.
In 2012, the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation awarded NAU a $1 million grant to establish
Personalized Learning. Recently, the Foundation contracted WestEd, Georgia
Institute of Technology, and the rpk Group to survey Personalized Learning
students to evaluate the success of the initiative.
The Gates survey results
reflect high levels of satisfaction across several measures:
of students rate their interactions with their faculty mentor positively.
agree that the skills learned will help with future employment goals.
would recommend the program to friends, family, and/or coworkers.
expect $0 debt when they finish their degrees, and more than 50% expect to
accumulate less than $5,000 in debt.
Students cite affordability,
flexibility and the self-paced, competency-based education model of
Personalized Learning as some of the top reasons for enrollment. Eighty percent
of the Personalized Learning students surveyed reported that they work
full-time while pursuing their degree; the self-paced, online structure best accommodates
their professional and family commitments.
Students reflected on their
degree programs, saying:
“The business courses are extremely well put
together. Easy to follow, easy to read, and full of useful information.”
“The one-on-one interaction with the professor about
the assignments provides more individualized instruction than the traditional
“It is flexible and self-paced, so it is easy for
someone with a job and a family to manage.”
“The course work is flexible, and places a lot of
focus on analysis and critical thinking as opposed to memorizing facts and
“The strength of the Personalized Learning program is
in its Mentors, GAs (Graduate Assistants), support staff and teachers.”
NAU’s Personalized Learning program
offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in:
More information about
Personalized Learning can be found here.