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Competency-Based Education

Empowered Learning®

Take Control of Your Learning

Empowered Learning® at Rasmussen University puts you in the driver’s seat for your online Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral courses. Nearly 80% of these programs are fully designed with Empowered Learning. That means you use your professional and life experience to demonstrate some skills faster, and slow down to work with new material. Empowered Learning prepares you for the future by ensuring you master each skill needed to flourish in the workplace.

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Rasmussen student

"It really focuses on doing rather than knowing. Our assessment philosophy is, ‘Prove you can do it,’ because that’s really what competency means."

Adam S.
Rasmussen University Faculty Innovation Manager

What’s Great About Empowered Learning®?

  • Learn by Doing

    Instead of tests and papers, you create projects that demonstrate your new knowledge and show how you can put it to work right away.

  • Manage Your Pace

    Go faster when you can, and slower when you need to. Adjust your course progress to fit the rhythm of your life. You can complete course assignments at any time before the end of the term. 14-day attendance windows keep you on track and connected.

  • Learn in Community

    In addition to weekly class discussions, your instructor supports your work with 1:1 consultations, and classmates often share feedback and ideas.

Empowered Learning®

With Empowered Learning®, you show what you know—at your pace—and stay connected with faculty and peers throughout the course.

View transcript(Scroll to see full transcript)

Sometimes, the key to progress in your education is giving you control over how you learn.

And that’s where Empowered Learning® comes in.

In this innovative online learning platform, you learn by doing.

Instead of tests and papers, you create real projects and gain skills you can put to work right away.

You get multiple tries for each project,

To prove that you know what you’re doing—just like real life.

Manage your pace to fit your life,

Because life happens.

Have a busy work week? Or, need more time on a new skill?

With Empowered Learning, you control how fast or slow you go.

You also learn in a supportive community.

Meet one-on-one with your instructor and have group discussions with your classmates.

You’re in this together with your Rasmussen University team.

And we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Giving you the green light with Empowered Learning.

What Do Empowered Learning® Courses Look Like?

Each course requires you to complete six projects—aligned with specific employer-approved skills—and a seventh final project that combines everything you’ve learned. You’ll use these course projects to create a portfolio that shows what you can do.

Online Empowered Learning® Demo – Rasmussen University

You’re not limited to a desk with Empowered Learning. Get an inside look at our innovative platform.

View transcript(Scroll to see full transcript)

Empowered Learning® is an efficient way for you to take online courses.

You’ll manage your pace as you create projects for the real world and collaborate with faculty and peers.

This way of learning is often called “competency-based education.” It differs from traditional and online courses, in that you prove what you can do, not just what you know.

When you first log-in to the dashboard, you’ll see your courses.

When you click on your course, you’ll find a “Getting Started” folder and a “Learning Plan.”

Before you dive into your coursework, you’ll define goals and lay out how you will achieve them. This is called your “Learning Plan.”

Once you submit the learning plan, your course modules will open and you can begin the course.

In the “Course Project” folder, you’ll find everything that is due for the course, called “deliverables,” so you’ll know what to expect from the start.

Think of these deliverables as “mini projects.”

To complete the course, you must successfully complete each course project. This gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your growing knowledge. Each project reflects something you would do as a professional in the field.

You'll also see that courses are organized into a series of "Modules," with each Module dedicated to a specific “Competency.”

A "Competency" is a specific skill or knowledge area that is essential not just for completing your degree, but also for achieving success in the workplace.

Students like how Empowered Learning courses at Rasmussen University allow them to apply each competency to a real-world scenario.

You’re not only completing the course projects, but you’re also building on your previous experience and adding your new knowledge of the material.

If there is an area you're already familiar with because of your prior work or life experience, start that part of the project right away. If it's new to you, take your time to explore interactive content, media and other resources.

Remember: You can work ahead. There are no weekly deadlines—and you don’t have to do the projects in order.

You’ll submit small projects for each competency, plus one final project that brings it all together. This shows that you know how to connect the dots—which employers truly value.

As you work on each deliverable, you have complete visibility into the grading criteria that faculty will use to grade your work—called “rubrics.”

Avoid surprises by looking over each rubric before starting your work to know how mastery is defined. Always ask your faculty member for clarification if you have questions.

And remember: You always have the option to submit each assignment more than once after seeing the feedback.

Each module is built to allow you to assess, learn and practice the content before you prove your mastery of the competency, or skill area, through the course project.

Under “Multimedia Content,” you can watch short videos with subject matter experts guiding you through the content and demonstrating how these skills work in the professional world.

You'll find “Knowledge Checks” throughout each course. These are ungraded assessments that help you gauge your understanding of the material.

You’ll also find a variety of course readings, as well as interactive games and activities, to help you explore real-world scenarios.

You can interact with all these content pieces before your assessment. And you’re free to use them as much—or as little—as you want.

An important part of Empowered Learning is to know you're not on your own.

For at least one hour per week, you can meet online with your faculty, and classmates who are also working on that specific competency.

You're encouraged to discuss the big questions and participate, as these live sessions can greatly enrich your learning.

If you need tech support along the way, our Personal Support Center is available 24/7.

And, your faculty are available to answer your course-related questions.

Once you experience this competency-based learning style, you’ll see how beneficial it is to learn by doing ... manage your own pace ... and learn in community.

Thank you for taking a look at the advantages of Empowered Learning at Rasmussen University!

Empowered Learning® Course Example

Each project below is aligned with a specific skill or knowledge area, also known as a “competency,” that is essential to your degree and career. The entire course is built around one real-world scenario, and builds from one project to the next. In an actual project, you would have a detailed grading guideline called a “rubric” for each project.

Course Name: Leadership and Teams

Scenario: As a leader, you’ve been tasked with building a new team.

  • 1. Roles and Behaviors of Teams


    Evaluate the roles and behaviors of teams in organizational settings.


    Provide a two-page report outlining what habits and responsibilities make for a successful team.

  • 2. Team Performance and Productivity


    Examine variables, conditions and concepts that influence team performance productivity.


    Provide a table of recommendations and methods to improve the productivity of the team in your scenario.

  • 3. Rewarding and Compensating Teams


    Evaluate methods and systems for rewarding and compensating teams.


    Provide a two-page report summarizing how teams within your scenario are compensated, and the reasons for this compensation model.

  • 4. Building an Effective Team


    Analyze the interpersonal process and structural characteristics that influence team effectiveness.


    Create a presentation on what to consider when building your scenario team: internal and external dynamics, diversity, coaching, leadership and more.

  • 5. Effective Team Communication


    Examine team member communication, collaboration and strategies for developing team intelligence.


    Provide a one-page report on your scenario team’s communication challenges and strategies to resolve conflict.

  • 6. Leading a High-Performing Team


    Analyze leadership roles, techniques and challenges in leading teams.


    Provide a one-page report on what makes for an effective leader and the best strategy to lead your scenario team.

  • 7. FINAL PROJECT: Leading an Effective Team


     Combine everything you have learned in the six projects above.


    Create a presentation for your scenario organization for a new performance evaluation system, including best practices, challenges and solutions.

Alicia D. Testimonial

"The flexibility was very essential to being able to fit in personal life, while also working full time, 40 hours a week. I would not have been able to earn this degree if it weren’t for Empowered Learning®."

Alicia D.
Graduate, Master of Human Resources Management, and Rasmussen University Staff Member

Empowered Learning® Programs

We’re not new to this innovative approach. As a founding member of C-BEN (Competency-Based Education Network), Rasmussen University is a national leader in the field.

See which of our Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral programs are 100% Empowered Learning®:

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Jorge B. Testimonial

"Empowered Learning® taught me how to manage my time. It made me more comfortable to create things on my own. It makes you realize everyone should be doing this. It’s a no-brainer."

Jorge B.
Accounting Bachelor’s Degree Graduate