7 Benefits of Mastery-Based Learning

To summarize, mastery-based (or competency-based) courses measure progression based on a set of explicit learning outcomes, placing emphasis on knowledge demonstration rather than spending a set amount of time on each lesson.

This approach lends itself to deeper understanding of course content since students are encouraged to actively participate in the learning process, leading to knowledge retention that lasts far beyond test time.

Here are 7 ways your students can benefit from a mastery-based approach to learning, especially in light of the rise in online & hybrid course formats:

  1. Advancement Based on Demonstrated Proficiency

    • When course advancement is based more heavily on a demonstrated proficiency level, students are held accountable for studying and taking the time to ensure that they truly understand lesson content. With Hawkes’ software, mastery is set at 80% and can be customized to your desired percentage. Upon demonstrating satisfactory understanding, students receive full credit. This approach incentivizes students to take the time to practice each concept since they are held to a higher standard of achievement.

  2. Learning is More Personalized

    • Hawkes’ software utilizes adaptive features aimed at personalizing each student’s learning experience based on their areas of weakness. If they do not successfully reach mastery as defined in an assessment, the student is placed in Practice mode with problems tailored to concepts with which they demonstrated a lack of understanding. Intelligent tutoring & error-specific feedback help students understand where they are falling off and why, enabling them to correct any misunderstandings they may have about course content.

  3. Emphasis on Demonstrated Learning Rather Than Seat Time

    • While not the same as a truly self-paced model, Hawkes’ mastery-based approach gives students unlimited opportunities to learn content & achieve the same level of understanding as their peers, even if it takes a bit more time for them to get there. After all, learning is not a one-size-fits-all process, and students cannot be expected to be on the same page solely based on how much time they spend sitting in class taking notes. Due dates in our software can be fixed, but this approach gives students more opportunities to prove understanding before these dates.

  4. Transparency Empowers and Motivates Learners

    • With unlimited practice opportunities in Hawkes’ software, students can appreciate knowing that they can achieve without penalties if they struggle at first. Taking penalties off the table in a practice environment reduces anxiety and, alongside Tutor features like Explain Error, empowers students to persist. Additionally, they can see their progress towards mastery as they successfully complete assignments, providing a motivating visual of how far they have come.

  5. Assessment is a Continual Part of the Learning Cycle

    • If a student takes an assessment only to discover, in this high-stakes environment, that they weren’t as prepared as they thought they were, it can feel too late to bother learning the material. That’s why our software includes unlimited Practice Tests to help students discover where they stand, alongside Tutor features aimed at helping them understand and correct their mistakes before test time.

  6. Instructors Can Offer More Timely Support

    • An ongoing review of where students stand in relation to their learning goals and the class as a whole provides an invaluable picture for instructors. Hawkes’ Reports help you see where your students are struggling on an individual and class level to more quickly address at-risk students and intervene on larger-scale areas of weakness.

  7. Students Develop Lifelong Learning Habits

    • A mastery-based approach to learning requires persistence on the student’s part, which naturally lends itself to an orientation towards long-term achievement. When a student learns how to persevere, demonstrate knowledge in new & varying contexts, and build on skills in subsequent courses, their potential is limitless.

Learn More

Explore Hawkes’ mastery-based text & software materials today.

Request a free textbook copy for review.

Request free software access.


Questions? Contact us any time at info@hawkeslearning.com.

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