CESA2 | Customer Success | D2L
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Providing Competency-based Driver Education to Provide Flexibility to Students

Driver Education on Demand

CESA2 is the largest online driver education program in the state of Wisconsin. They serve 42 high schools directly, but they offer the program to any student in the state, as an online option. With the help of their K12 LMS, they offer a 30-hour course on rolling enrolment so students can get the training they need, but can study when it best suits their busy schedules.

At a glance

Client: CESA2
High Schools: 42

The Story

  • The early days of driver education
  • K12 LMS adoption and success
  • How CESA2 has grown
  • Competency education provides flexibility
  • K12 LMS automated communication keep students engaged
  • The final thought

The early days of driver education

Kurt Schultz, Driver Education Director at CESA2Kurt Schultz is CESA2’s Driver Education Director. He’s been helping to build the online program since the early 2000s. Beginning in a traditional classroom model, Kurt saw the need for the program to expand, to become more flexible and to be available to students with complicated schedules. As Driver Education was no longer being offered in class time, students could only complete the mandatory 30-hour course during non-school hours. This meant sacrificing other areas of a student’s extracurricular activities. As well, since courses were scheduled to start at specific times in the school year, it meant that students could easily miss a week or two due to scheduling conflicts with activities, vacations, illness, and more.

"It’s a real advantage to be able to have insight at a glance from within Brightspace."

Katie Scheuerell, Online Coordinator

K12 LMS adoption and success

With these issues in mind, Kurt set about to design his own online program using a variety of tools to deliver course content. Eventually CESA2 introduced a new K12 LMS, but the system lacked some of the key features that would benefit students. And once Kurt realized that students would be using the Brightspace Learning Environment at the University of Wisconsin, the switch to Brightspace K12 LMS began. “It made sense to prepare students for online learning now.” Ever the educator at heart, Kurt saw the long-term learning advantages for students. Something that would benefit them beyond driver education into higher education and throughout their life choices and career paths.

How CESA2 has grown

With no advertising and only relying upon word of mouth to promote their program, CESA2 has done a remarkable job in creating awareness and reaching as many learners as possible. Once they began using Brightspace to manage their program, they saw some other distinctive advantages for instructors and students alike. All of which helped to impact the number of students they could teach and reach. Online tools allow instructors to have immediate access to their students and react quickly with feedback, customized content and more.
female student learning from professor online

Competency education provides flexibility

CESA2 provides driver education that focuses on defensive driving. They ensure students are taught the basics like signage, traffic laws, organ donation, distracted driving, driving under the influence, and emergencies. For each quiz, test or assignment that they offer online, students are required to show competency and achieve a score of 80% to move on. If a student doesn’t meet the standard score, instructors have the option to get involved. While this constitutes a competency-based education methodology, the course is still adhering to the state required, 30-hours of classroom instruction, which means that students have a maximum of 20 weeks to complete the course. However, each section can be achieved when and where students are comfortable studying. From within the Brightspace K12 LMS environment, instructors can provide personalized content, gifs, videos, and any necessary tools to help students gain competency in the learning material. “This is a big differentiator for D2L,” says Kurt. “Personalizing content, organization of folders, global announcements, all help us deliver a more engaging course.”

K12 LMS automated communication keep students engaged

Katie Scheuerell, Online Coordinator at CESA2

There are approximately 15 instructors that teach the same course. As well, there are around 40 students assigned to each instructor. One such instructor and Online Coordinator is Katie Scheuerell. With rolling enrollment, any student at any time can be at a different stage of their course. While this is a huge advantage for students, Katie points out that it can be difficult for instructors to keep watch over the progression of each student individually. “It’s a real advantage to be able to have insight at a glance from within Brightspace. It allows me to view grades, make comments or assign additional reading. It helps provide students with a true personalized approach to learning.”

With Brightspace Intelligent Agents, instructors can rely upon the transmission of essential communication and reminders of end dates, which helps students to be more aware of their progress. A message can be automatically triggered if the system detects that a student has been inactive for a certain period of time. These were features missing from the previous K12 LMS.

After the final assignment is completed with success, students receive an automated notification providing them with information regarding the next steps they need to take. With access to the DMV computer system, CESA2 can actually log students in and help them to proceed to their written and driving test. “The system sort of runs on its own,” says Katie. “We can be confident knowing students are prepared for the next steps. And students are confident knowing what to do next to get to their road test.”

student driver in car learning

The final thought

If you ever find yourself driving through the state of Wisconsin, you’ll be able to breathe a little easier knowing that the young drivers on the road have had a great start to their driving education. And hopefully, the more CESA2 gets promoted, the more students they will be able to reach. As their K12 LMS partner, we’re eager to enable CESA2 to scale its operation and manage the growth of their program for years to come.

Excited to learn more?

So are we! Let’s book some time together to see how we can help. The coffee’s hot!

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Fueling up:

Upskilling to grow careers

Name: Zaria
Age: 27

Policy prescriptions: Invest in a Learning-Integrated Life; Transform the learning of today with new partnerships; Accelerate the shift to skills-based learning and hiring

Zaria has five years of work experience and is ready to change jobs and enter a field that has high growth potential in her region. The national government has been investing in collecting better skills-based labour market information for years and has developed a public platform to offer individuals specialized tools to assess their skills against current market needs, and to locate employers that are currently hiring.

On the employer side, the human resources team is closely examining a recent internal skills audit done at their organization and determines that the organization needs additional digital marketing specialists. They initiate a search for individuals with the skills they will soon need and spot a strong candidate in Zaria who requires only light training on regulatory issues regarding the sale of electric vehicles, along with some formal skills development courses on social media marketing strategy. After a successful interview, Zaria is offered the job.

Upon joining, Zaria will receive an educational benefits stipend from the company, and access to a company-provided platform of curated programs for skills building from approved providers. Upon completion of a set of courses, Zaria will receive a credential from a company approved program verifying her technical knowledge and marking the end of her probationary period at the company. To ensure she continues to build her skills, she will move into a formal mentor program with one of her colleagues to receive continual peer-to-peer feedback on her demonstration of skills and knowledge. information

This affordable and accessible learning through employer-funded training has enabled Zaria to begin working while also upskilling to ensure her long-term success in the company and growing industry. The employer is investing in its employees, and company leaders are thinking further into the future about the skills the company needs, and the types of job candidates who will succeed. This match, based on skills potential, was made possible because of government investment in high-quality labour market information and a national platform that matches job candidates with career opportunities based on the candidates’ skills and the identified skill needs of a given job.

Taking the road less travelled:

A networked postsecondary education

Name: Sam
Age: 18

Policy prescriptions: Transform the learning of today with new partnerships

Sam is a prospective postsecondary student who has always been interested in pursuing a global and interdisciplinary education. Sam’s siblings have all instilled in her the importance of studying abroad, having spoken fondly of their academic exchange semesters, field research trips, and intensive language immersion programs. She is inspired, but unsure whether this pathway will be available if she chooses not to complete a four-year degree at one institution.

Sam is interested in understanding how emerging technologies can be used to modernize and improve government services—an area in need of talent not only in her home country of Canada but also abroad. She could take on a general political science, public administration, engineering, or computer science degree at the university close to her home, but none of those degrees feels like the right fit to build the skills she needs to pursue this career interest.

While researching options, Sam learns of a new degree completion pathway that allows students to take courses from a network of universities, colleges, and polytechnic institutions throughout Canada and stack them for skills-based  credentials that are recognized by major Canadian employers. A set of four of these credentials grants an individual a degree-equivalent endorsed by each institution. Sam identifies the skills and knowledge she wants to work towards and charts out four credential pathways:

  1. Service delivery design
  2. Change management
  3. Applications of emerging technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence)
  4. Machinery of government

With this customized learning pathway, Sam has full flexibility to decide how she wants to structure her courses, the institutions within the network she will study at, and the format and model of courses she prefers—whether live in-class instruction or online courses.

Cost flexibility is built in as well—students pay a standard fee based on the number of competencies they intend to learn rather than the normal standard of ‘credit hours’. The province in which Sam lives has endorsed this networked model of  postsecondary education and adjusted its financial assistance program to better support students. Grants and other non-repayable assistance take into consideration the number of courses the student is taking across all institutions when assessing financial need. Previously, Sam would have been required to be a full-time student at every institution to receive support.

Sam also has the option of starting with foundational courses or applying for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) information so her existing knowledge and skills can be tested and she can move on to more advanced topics.

Sam completes her first three credentials in three years and uses her certifications to apply for a one-year work-integrated learning experience with the federal government in Germany where she can learn first-hand about the applications of artificial intelligence in government. When she returns home, she applies for PLAR to certify her learning on the machinery of government and is granted a degree acknowledging her four-part customized education.

The collaboration between universities, polytechnics, and colleges to create a networked approach to degree completion, and its endorsement by the provincial government, allowed Sam to graduate as an alumnus of multiple postsecondary education institutions. Her exposure to different thought spaces and networks was highly valuable for ensuring she was engaged throughout her education and set up for post-graduation success. In the rapidly evolving field she has chosen, she understands how important it is to continuously upskill, and is prepared to return to formal education for more stackable credentials as she continues throughout her career.

Route guidance:

Personalized professional development

Name: ZheYuan
Age: 33

Policy prescriptions: Prepare teachers for their own lifelong learning journeys; Accelerate the shift to skills-based learning and hiring

ZheYuan is about to join Marama’s school as a new secondary school teacher. He completed his professional teacher education a decade ago, and teaching looks a bit different today than it did when he was studying. With the incorporation of learning technologies in the classroom, and expectations of teachers delivering competency-based education information, he needs personalized professional development to feel comfortable and supported in this new opportunity.

The school district has been on its own learning journey since shifting to a competency-based education model, and has had some growing pains. Over time, the district has come to recognize that success depends on school administrators working closely with teachers to co-create systems of instruction, and pathways to professional development. The district has its own online learning management system (LMS) for teacher professional development, with a catalogue of content covering a range of subjects including:

  • Strategies for student-centred instruction
  • Design thinking—how to prototype and iterate on solutions to test new approaches
  • Online content—using learning management systems to advance competency-based education
  • Data analysis—interpreting student progress

ZheYuan is excited that he can take on professional learning to suit his needs on his own schedule. He recalls an earlier time when he had to spend nine hours a month in-person taking the same professional development courses as his peers who were teaching very different subjects and had varied skill levels and pedagogical needs than him, which was less than effective.

ZheYuan can also take advantage of his teacher community in the LMS, connecting both in asynchronous chats and in live discussions with other teachers and experts from across his region to ask questions and share his experiences. He sees some upcoming dialogues hosted by his school district to share learnings and signs up for those sessions, knowing he will get a valuable peer perspective from other teachers. ZheYuan is thankful that his school leaders recognize and value professional learning and provide the supports and the time needed for improvement.

D2L Whitepaper Contributors

Lead Authors:
Malika Asthana, Manager, Strategy and Public Affairs
Joe Pickerill, Senior Director, Strategy and Public Affairs, International

Jeremy Auger, Chief Strategy Officer
Mark Schneiderman, Senior Director, Future of Teaching and Learning
Brendan Desetti, Senior Director, Strategy and Public Affairs, United States
Mike Semansky, Senior Director, Strategy and Public Affairs, Canada
Nia Brown, Senior Manager, Strategy and Public Affairs

In the driver’s seat:

Owning the personalized learning journey

Name: Marama
Age: 14

Policy prescriptions: Prepare teachers for their own lifelong learning journeys; Accelerate the shift to skills-based learning and hiring

Marama is enrolled in a school with a competency-based education model information. Students are responsible for owning the personalization of their learning pathways, making choices alongside their teachers in how and when they learn.iii Teachers play a central role in guiding and validating all learning, regardless of where it takes place—offering formative assessments to evaluate a student’s mastery of skills and knowledge. Teachers use data from these assessments, gathered through an online learning management system (LMS), to differentiate instruction and provide targeted supports so that all students progress toward graduation. As a student diagnosed with a learning disability, Marama is supported in her education by this personalized learning pathway.

All students complete an assessment in ninth grade to identify their natural strengths as a learner. Their teachers use the results as inputs to design tailormade educational pathways with learning materials and activities that suit the individual students’ learning needs. In Marama’s case, this includes:

  1. Supplementing lecture-based teaching with structured but independent reading
  2. Shadowing professionals who work on the concepts she is learning about
  3. Taking the stories and lessons she’s learned and sharing it back with classmates by designing a creative and interactive presentation

Over the course of the school year, Marama spends a third of her time in live lectures (sometimes online) with her teacher alongside other classmates—but the rest of her time is spent learning in the ways that suit her best. She can log into her online LMS from her mobile device to access her school resources and complete on her own schedule before the assigned deadline. When Marama finds a concept that interests her, she can ask her teachers and counsellor for support in finding a working professional to speak to, or work alongside for a couple weeks, from the network her school has curated over time. And when she has learned something, she is encouraged to reinforce her learning by applying her skills and developing content to share back with her classmates.

Marama’s personalized learning journey empowers her to own her education by learning in ways that are effective for her, with the support that allows her to be successful. Her teachers have high-quality data about student strengths and performance they can share with her parents to show them how she is mastering specific skills, and where she may need extra support. Her school experience empowers her to embrace her subject interests very early on, and she advances to deeper topics quickly as she submits evidence of learning that demonstrates her proficiency. She graduates having cultivated a mindset for self-directed learning early in her education.