All too often, service members begin college only to find that they already have mastered much of the curriculum.

At that point, they might “check out” mentally and fall behind in their coursework—not because they don’t know the answers, but because re-learning feels like a waste of time.

Why does this happen? And what’s new in education to solve this problem?


Why Military Members Don’t Get the Transfer Credit They Deserve

Colleges often miss the mark when transferring credits from a military transcript. Two common examples are:

  • A veteran may have gained “on the job” experience in the squadron, but was never formally trained on those skills. (Military transcripts only account for formally-acquired knowledge or experience.)
  • A service member may have been trained on a specific skill, but the full value of this skill does not get sufficiently translated into course credit. (Without a comprehensive prior learning assessment or portfolio review, it can be impossible for a school to translate the service member’s training and experience into a traditional credit-bearing model.)


How Competency-Based Education Can Help

Competency-based education can help service members and veterans get the credit they deserve for undocumented skills acquired while in the service. It allows them to bring their military skills and experience into the courseroom and employ them in a meaningful way.

In particular, direct assessment (Capella’s FlexPath option), allows service members to apply “untranscripted” knowledge to courses, so they can move quickly through familiar areas. It also eliminates the constraints of preset weekly deadlines and attendance requirements.


What’s Different About Competency-Based Education?

Competency-based education is designed around the critical skills, knowledge, theories, and abilities — or “competencies” — required to master the subject matter in your degree program.

Assessments along the way measure an individual’s skills and abilities as well as their understanding of academic theory. The emphasis, however, is on practical knowledge. For example, someone studying web design may be asked to redesign a website based on their knowledge of interactive best practices, rather than answer multiple-choice questions about effective web design.


Benefits of FlexPath for Service Members

The FlexPath curricula, like Capella’s GuidedPath curricula, are aligned with professional success factors as defined by employers and professional organizations. Plus, FlexPath allows students to work independently and set their own pace. This lets service members and veterans move more quickly through material where they have deep experience, and slow down to focus on areas where military service didn’t lead them.

It’s a targeted approach to higher education that truly honors the service experience, reducing cost and time as a result.


FlexPath is available in select bachelor’s, master’s, and MBA programs in six areas of study: Business, Education, Health Care, Information Technology, Nursing, and Psychology.

Is self-paced learning right for you? Take the 5-minute Path Finder Quiz