An LMS should serve as the backbone for online learning and the delivery of a
competency-based education program.
Many competency-based programs today are designed for students who have family and work obligations or those who are unable to be physically present in the classroom. In order to effectively enable the CBE model and reach these students, many programs need to be delivered in an online environment. Technology is a key element in supporting this learning – specifically through the use of an learning management system (LMS). This technology helps educators personalize the learning experience for students and provide them with anytime/anywhere access to learning content. While the LMS is a critical component to deliver competency-based programs, not all learning systems were architected for this level of instructional flexibility. There are some key features and requirements that are necessary for an LMS to support a CBE strategy.
Here are three important questions to consider when assessing the readiness of your LMS to support a CBE program.
What are your CBE program requirements?
Consider the type of characteristics your CBE program might have such as flexible pacing, progression by mastery, remediation, structure and support, etc.
Why are these program requirements important?
Think about your reasoning behind each program requirement. Defining the ‘why’ for each area is necessary for the delivery of a successful CBE program.
What sort of functionality does your LMS need to have?
This is how an LMS supports your program requirements. Think about what you need your LMS to do and how it should be able to perform, in order to support your CBE program.
CBE Program Requirements
|Defining competencies||Must articulate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes students will be expected to demonstrate.||Communicates defined competencies through learning modules.|
|Flexible pacing||CBE learners may spend more or less time on a particular competency, depending on their previous knowledge and experience.||Releases new module or competency based on completion of or performance on the previous one.|
|Continuous intake||Learners may need to begin a program or course mid-year and not on a traditional semester schedule.||Tracks “days since enrollment” for groups and individuals so content can appear based on time elapsed since enrollment.|
|Progression by mastery||Unlike completion/submission triggering progress in regular courses, learners in a CBE course need to demonstrate mastery before proceeding.||Releases content based on competency completion (or based on a student’s performance on an assessment).|
|Demonstration of competence||Competence generally requires more authentic assessment methods and demonstrations of knowledge.||Documents and tracks learner progress and supports multiple methods of assessment (quizzing, media submissions, etc.).|
|Feedback and encouragement||Self-paced courses can become isolating without regular communication with an instructor.||Includes private discussions and intelligent agents to automate feedback and propose next steps upon completion of a task.|
|Structure and support||Learners find it difficult to keep track of their progress and stay on their own set timelines without pacing support and prompts.||Checklists can be conditionally released based on a learner’s progress so that the next set of tasks appears as the learner completes the previous.|
|Remediation||Instructors may not be immediately available when learners are working irregular hours.||Unmet thresholds on competencies or assessment performance can trigger an email that’s sent to learners with targeted support tips, resources, and common challenges that learners experience.|
|Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)||Learners returning to school from the workforce often have additional skills they may want advanced credits for. They can benefit from pre-assessments to determine where gaps in their knowledge exist.||ePortfolio functionality can capture, organize, and present prior knowledge in relation to competencies. Pre-assessments within courses provide feedback to learners about their knowledge gaps or trigger the release of content.|
Having an LMS that is CBE-ready will help you achieve your institution’s goals for delivering a successful competency-based program. If you’re interested in learning more about why CBE is gaining new momentum as a learning model, check out our latest CBE eBook!
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