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Unfolding Understandings: A History of the Alverno Learning Process


Exhibit logo featuring the eight abilities encircling a Black woman

 "As we have worked with our curriculum, we have come to an even deeper appreciation that 'curriculum' is a process, and our understanding and our practice have shifted over the years. What may look like definitions are really unfolding understandings, and what may look like a static articulated system is actually an evolving interactive process."

from the preface to Ability-Based Learning Outcomes: Teaching and Assessment at Alverno College, 2005

Alverno College tipped the academic scales of higher education when it initiated a new way of teaching and learning in 1973.  With a cutting edge program dubbed  CBL or “Competence Based Learning”, Alverno introduced the revolutionary idea of  teaching students to learn, internalize, and then externalize and apply knowledge gained in the classroom to their life and  their workplace.

There were many academic critics and skeptics in those first years of the program. However, almost fifty years later, Alverno has prevailed as the acknowledged leader in the field of ability-based curricula.