The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC) | Customer Success | D2L
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The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC)

Innovating to maintain professional practice standards

Helping registered massage therapists meet their regulatory obligations with online quality assurance

At a glance

Client: The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC)
Registrants: 5,500
Industry: Professional Regulatory Body
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  • D2L’s Brightspace platform
  • D2L Managed Services
  • D2L Learning and Creative Services


  • Eric Wredenhagen, Registrar and CEO
  • Annette Ruitenbeek, Director of Professional Practice


  • CMTBC is using the Brightspace platform to facilitate its regulatory entry-to-practice and quality assurance processes.
  • D2L Managed Services empowers CMTBC’s small team to maximize efficiency in its use of the Brightspace platform.
  • Positive feedback from RMTs is encouraging CMTBC to continue building online courses.

The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC), the regulatory body for registered massage therapists (RMTs) in British Columbia, is taking an innovative approach to fulfilling its legislated regulatory mandates by harnessing D2L’s Brightspace platform in two ways. CMTBC uses Brightspace both to deliver the online section of its entry to practice exams for RMTs and also to support ongoing quality assurance through online instruction in specific areas of RMTs’ professional practice, such as boundaries and consent.

"The D2L Creative Services team was quick to understand our mandate, how we position ourselves, and how our needs as a regulator are different from those of an educational institution."

Annette Ruitenbeek, Director of Professional Practice, CMTBC


Meeting a mandate for continuing competency

As the professional regulatory body for RMTs in British Columbia, Canada, CMTBC is responsible for meeting several key mandates under the province’s Health Professions Act. For example, the organization administers entry-to-practice exams to license newly trained massage therapists and those who have moved to British Columbia from other provinces, where regulatory standards are different.

CMTBC also has a mandate to provide quality assurance for the profession, as Eric Wredenhagen, Registrar and CEO, explains: “We have an obligation under the quality assurance and continuing competency mandate to ensure that practitioners stay up to date with current practice and are learning what they need to know to deliver quality care, safe care and ethical care.”

To help RMTs maintain compliance as professional practice evolves, CMTBC needs to be able to communicate new standards as they are developed and to ensure that its registrants understand the requirements. In many other professions, this role is filled by third-party training providers, which work with regulators to design and deliver professional education. However, in CMTBC’s domain, no such provider currently exists.

“We’ve stepped into that breach because we realized that the only way to effectively communicate what RMTs need to know about their professional requirements is to do it ourselves,” says Eric Wredenhagen.

Annette Ruitenbeek, Director of Professional Practice, adds: “We’re not an educational institution, so this is something we had never done in the past. We just had to find a way to help RMTs navigate changes in professional practice, and it’s led us to some really exciting innovations.”

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Finding the right technology partner

As a relatively small organization, CMTBC needs to focus on its regulatory mission, not on managing technology. When it decided to offer online courses, CMTBC realized that it would need support from a technology partner. D2L’s Managed Services offering was a good fit with its requirements, and CMTBC staff have quickly come to think of their D2L consultant as part of their own team.

“D2L’s Matt Walker is our new colleague. That’s what it feels like,” says Annette Ruitenbeek. “We have a sophisticated information system that is linked to D2L’s Brightspace platform, and Matt has been terrific in helping us troubleshoot as well as anticipate issues and come up with solutions.”

In building its online courses, CMTBC has also worked closely with D2L’s Learning and Creative Services team.

“I had an excellent experience last summer with D2L’s Creative Services team,” says Annette Ruitenbeek. “We worked hard, and we built a beautiful course that has had good uptake and positive feedback that we’re excited about. The D2L Creative Services team was quick to understand our mandate, how we position ourselves, and how our needs as a regulator are different from those of an educational institution. That’s something that a lot of technology providers struggle to understand, but the D2L team got it right away.”

Agile course development

So far, CMTBC has used the Brightspace platform to build two important online courses. First is a course on law, ethics, and professionalism, which forms one of the four components of the entry-to-practice examination. Aspiring RMTs can take the course online and sit an online proctored exam at the end.

Second, the organization has developed a course on boundaries and consent, in response to recent changes in the profession’s practice standards. The course gives therapists guidance on how to maintain boundaries with their patients and ensure they have informed consent from the patient prior to proceeding with treatment. Interactive tools walk RMTs through the practice standards stepby-step and provide examples of applications of the professional standards to RMT practice.

“One of the things that’s different as a regulator compared to an educational institution is that we don’t have semesters or predictable timelines,” says Annette Ruitenbeek. “New standards can be introduced at any time, and we need to respond when there’s new material that RMTs need to learn. The Brightspace platform gives us the ability to develop and launch courses in an agile way when the need arises.”

"Our registrants are going to engage with the material more and absorb it better if we can make it interactive. That’s why we want to do more with D2L: we think it’s a really effective way to engage people."

Eric Wredenhagen, Registrar and CEO, CMTBC


Delivering quality assurance on a larger scale

The ability to provide information and instruction via an online platform is particularly important for CMTBC because the population of RMTs that the organization regulates has grown by approximately 50% over the past two years, from 3,600 to around 5,500.

“More and more citizens are using massage therapy as part of their health care, so the number of RMTs in the province is going up,” says Eric Wredenhagen. “We’re meeting our legislated duty to protect and serve the public interest by ensuring that RMTs operate according to the standards of professional practice, and the Brightspace platform gives us a tool to do that.”

He adds: “There’s a huge need in the regulated healthcare sector for a good platform that can deliver professional and regulatory knowledge to licensed health practitioners in a way that is manageable for them and that they can do on their schedule at their convenience.”

CMTBC has received positive feedback on the boundaries and consent course: RMTs enjoyed the way the material was presented, with interactive elements such as quizzes that helped them relate the information to their professional practice.

Annette Ruitenbeek says: “The response from the RMTs has been heartening. As a regulatory authority, when we get feedback from our registrants that we’re doing a good job, those moments are such rays of sunshine.”

Building on this positive feedback, CMTBC is now adopting the same style for its ongoing course development and plans to launch a new course early next year.

Eric Wredenhagen concludes: “Our registrants are going to engage with the material more and absorb it better if we can make it interactive. That’s why we want to do more with D2L: we think it’s a really effective way to engage people.”

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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.