D2L Debuts Competency-Based Ed Offering

By Rhea Kelly | CampusTechnology

A new Competency-Based Education (CBE) solution from D2L combines the company’s Brightspace Learning Environment, strategic consulting, domain expertise and a CBE community. The package is designed to help institutions launch CBE programs that make college degrees more attainable for non-traditional students.

“When most people think of the path to a college degree, it’s a fairly typical scenario — four years of high school then off to campus for four more years of dedicated, on-campus study, graduating with the promise of a good job and a decent salary. Instead, this pathway is becoming increasingly atypical,” said John Baker, D2L founder and CEO, in a press release. “We built our solution to address peoples’ needs and fill the gaps in the educational system. By helping institutions implement CBE, we’re helping millions of students attain the degrees they want to earn.”

Features of the Brightspace Competency-Based Education offering include:

The Brightspace Community, which connects D2L’s CBE clients with other customers operating and developing CBE programs, offers self-serve information on how to set up Brightspace for CBE, and provides resources pursuing innovation and funding;
CBE Consulting Services, with three levels to meet schools’ varying needs;
CBE Getting Started Service, which helps institutions learn how to use Brightspace tools to implement CBE programs;
CBE Strategic Planning Service, to help build a CBE strategic plan — including communication planning, business processes and practices review, pedagogy/andragogy review, technology review, and a Plan/Achieve/Measure implementation plan;
CBE Monthly Change Management Service, a one-year service to assist schools as they roll out their CBE programs;
CBE Courseware Development, which helps schools transform their courses into CBE offerings and align competencies to content and assessments; and
Brightspace Learning Environment, including a variety of assessment types, an adaptive learning engine, an e-portfolio tool and a badging tool.
The University of Wisconsin System has signed on to become D2L’s first statewide CBE customer. With a CBE program called the UW Flexible Option, the system aims to meet the needs of more than 650,000 students in Wisconsin who have completed some postsecondary education but lack a degree.

“UW Flex is built to provide a high-quality UW education to adult learners who are working full-time and supporting families,” said Aaron Brower, provost and vice chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Extension. “After only 22 months in operation, UW Flex is flourishing — enrollments are strong and our students are moving through their programs successfully. About a dozen have already graduated. The availability of technology for online learning, coupled with the competency-based education model, offers our students access to an education that simply did not exist before.”