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Continuing the Adventure at CBExchange 2021

  • 3 Min Read

We discuss the main highlights of CBExchange 2021 and share our reflections on this conference.


CBExchange is an annual conference hosted by C-BEN, where leaders from hundreds of institutions gather to learn how to build and bring to scale high-quality competency-based education (CBE) programs. With CBE, learning is designed with the individual in mind and is centered on students acquiring knowledge and skills through different learning exercises, activities, and experiences that align with defined programmatic outcomes. This year’s conference was held in Austin, Texas, with the overarching theme “Adventure Awaits,” and it was geared to exploring, discovering, and belonging.

In this blog, we discuss the main highlights of this year’s CBExchange and share our reflections on this conference.

Exploring CBE Models

Within the theme of adventure, the first subtheme centered on exploring a wide range of competency-based models while sharpening CBE know-how. This year, the conference kicked off with a traditional C-BEN members meeting the day before the regular conference started. C-BEN also added a couple of other helpful sessions for those who are new to the CBE space. They offered an all-day CBE Boot Camp experience and an all-day nursing program session focused on American Association of Colleges of Nursing essentials. In addition, for the past few years, C-BEN has also offered a parallel track for competency-based theological institutions. The pre-conference activities were no different in providing a competency-based theological education Boot Camp to help those theological institutions new in the CBE space get up to speed.

Discovering CBE Best Practices

The second subtheme focused on discovering new insights, strategies, and best practices from a variety of speakers and presenters. One of the highlights of this year’s main conference was a keynote presentation by Paul LeBlanc, president, Southern New Hampshire University. His engaging talk focused on the current state of higher education in the United States and how we got here.

SNHU President Paul LeBlanc has recently published a book titled Students First: Equity, Access, and Opportunity in Higher Education. He advocates for a new higher education ecosystem where students have the flexibility to learn at their own pace and on their own terms and timelines, with greater verification of their level of knowledge, skill, and ability. President LeBlanc makes an effective case for realigning the US education priorities to enable larger populations of graduates to enjoy a return on the investment in their education in the form of good pay, meaningful work, and a stable future.

Belonging to a CBE Community

The last subtheme centered on the idea of belonging to a dynamic and welcoming community that collectively seeks to expand competency-based learning, so education is more flexible, responsible, and valuable.

This conference had many different opportunities to connect with seasoned professionals and leading experts. The networking opportunities and conversations with other industry leaders alone at this event were worth attendance. This conference is an extremely valuable opportunity to stay connected with the trends, needs, and goals of a wide variety of CBE providers at many experience levels. This year’s conference proved to be no different, with many, many valuable conversations and takeaways. Overall, CBExhange left us feeling inspired, revitalized, and energized about CBE and the work ahead.

Embracing the Future of Learning with Competency-Based Education

D2L Brightspace is a leading CBE platform—it’s built for competency-based learning and not just completing a course, which sets it apart from other platforms in the market.

A major benefit of offering a CBE program is that it provides individualized learning at scale. Instead of offering a “cookie cutter” learning journey where a cohort moves at the same pace, a CBE program adapts to different learners, and people can go at their own pace.

Want to learn more? Let’s talk now

Written by:

Michael Moore
Michael Moore

Michael Moore is a Senior Advisory Consultant (Analytics) with Desire2Learn. Having worked for over twenty years in the software industry, Michael’s created numerous customization solutions and focuses on analytics, assessment reporting, and competency-based education models. Previously a Desire2Learn higher education client, he managed the Desire2Learn Analytics implementation at Daytona State College for three years. Michael holds a master’s degree in Computer Information Systems and a bachelor’s degree in Accounting.

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Table of Contents
  1. Exploring CBE Models
  2. Discovering CBE Best Practices
  3. Belonging to a CBE Community
  4. Embracing the Future of Learning with Competency-Based Education