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Online Courses That Teach Skills for Both Inside and Outside the Classroom

Courses with knowledge, skills, and attributes

BYU Independent Study now offers over 40 courses with Knowledge, Skills, and Attributes (KSA) components. The KSA additions to courses prove life-changing for many students because KSA builds character, inspires growth, and creates opportunities for future employment and education.

Sandy Powell, senior instructional designer for BYU Independent Study, explains what makes these courses unique: “The big difference is that we’re educating the whole student. We’re trying to help students gain more than just content knowledge; we’re helping them build their future.”


Each new class in the course catalog includes a curriculum with built-in KSAs at no additional cost. Here’s a closer look at what the KSA components offer:

Knowledge is gained through course study of a particular subject, while skills and attributes are developed concurrently.

Skills pave the way for attribute development and are divided into four categories:

  1. Collaboration
  2. Communication
  3. Creativity
  4. Critical Thinking

As education and employment opportunities evolve, new skills are required for success. “Colleges and employers have identified these 21st-century skills that we focus on. Students need these skills to be college- and career-ready,” says Powell.

Attributes (soft skills) are developed in addition to skills. The new curriculums with KSA elements are designed to produce opportunities for you to learn and apply a character attribute directly to your life. Sample attributes include responsibility, diligence, humility, kindness, courage, respect, and optimism.

Looks Great on a Resume

If you are searching for a way to bulk up your resume, KSAs are the answer! The standard skill set needed for employment can now be learned in BYU Independent Study courses, providing an advantage to students moving into the workforce.

After completing a course with the KSA component, you can claim a digital badge for your learned skill. You can attach these badges to your resumes, which will be a marketable asset in job interviews. The more badges you can add to your resume, the better. Future employers will love seeing you have taken the initiative to learn and apply new skills. 

“As an employer, if I were to have a prospective employee come to me and share that they have proof of having these 21st-century skills, it would give them a leg up over other applicants who lack those skills or the proof showing that they have those micro-credentials,” says Powell.

Makes a Difference

The attributes you develop through KSA courses in the classroom extend to life outside of school. These skills help you land a job and strengthen your relationships with friends and family.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, students who flourish at home gain more confidence and achieve higher academic success. With this correlation, students and parents will actively see conduct improve at school and home.

“Our KSA courses allow you, as a student, to gain content knowledge and hone the 21st-century skills that will make you more employable and more likely to be successful in college,” says Powell. “They help you gain attributes that make you a more well-rounded person while improving the quality of your life and the quality of the lives of those around you.”

Learn more about KSAs in BYU Independent Study courses at https://is.byu.edu/ksa.

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