SPREAD OF CBE INNOVATIONS IN NETWORKS
ABOUT THE STUDY
While bottom-up change driven through networks is accepted as more effective than top-down initiatives, research is limited on how networks enable the spread of new practices in higher education.
Focused on postsecondary competency-based education (CBE), this research is an exploration of:
- How inter-organizational relationships and social capital influence the adoption/adaptation of new CBE practices at institutions; and,
- The role of network organizations in growing relationships and supporting the implementation of new practices.
Social network analysis (SNA) is applied to understand how inter-organizational relationships across the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) relate to the implementation of new CBE models and practices (i.e., innovations).
KEY ASPECTS OF THE STUDY
MIXED METHODS, MULTIPLE DATA SOURCES
Quantitative and qualitative methods are combined for multiple perspectives and allowing holistic evaluation of results.
A variety of data sources are used to paint a detailed portrait of social relationships linked to CBE models and practices.
Social network analysis (SNA) serves as the theoretical and methodological foundation for the research.
Network leadership theories drawn from complexity science, SNA, and distributed/collective leadership literature are also engaged to explore knowledge transfer and implementation processes in organizations.
Goals for the research include actionable insights for CBE policymakers, funders, and practitioners. These will be shared in reports and online visualizations designed for broad audiences.
ABOUT THE RESEARCH PROJECT
This study represents the dissertation research for Bruce Haupt, a PhD candidate at the University of Kentucky. Bruce is enrolled in the Department of Educational Leadership in UK’s College of Education. The Chairperson for his doctoral committee is Dr. John Nash. The committee also includes Dr. Lars Bjork, Dr. Beth Rous, and Dr. Ajay Mehra.
This research extends a 2018 pilot study of collaborative interactions among actors in the CBE inter-organizational network with data drawn from publicly available online sources (e.g., CBE conference presentations with multiple presenters, CBE co-authored publications, and CBE board and committee memberships). An interactive visualization of the study data (built for a separate class project) can be found here.
The research is part of the National Research Collaborative for Competency-Based Education/Learning administered by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and funded by the Lumina Foundation. This dissertation project is also supported by the National Academy of Education and Spencer Foundation through the NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship.