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Why Competency-Based Education Is a Great Fit for Adult Learners

  • 2 Min Read

With CBE and D2L Brightspace, we’re giving students the remote control for their learning. They can fast forward, pause, rewind, or do whatever they need to make the experience work best for them.

George Hanshaw
George Hanshaw

Director of e-learning operations, Los Angeles Pacific University

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As someone who went back to school later in life, competency-based education (CBE) is something that’s very close to my heart. I didn’t always find it easy to balance studying with raising a young family. And there were times when I struggled to apply what I was learning to my work in the real world. I valued my higher education experience immensely, but I think if CBE was around back then, it would have made it even more rewarding.

That’s why I’m so excited Los Angeles Pacific University (LAPU) has made the move to CBE, with support from D2L. We’re a fully mobile, fully online university that’s all about helping adults fit their education around their busy lives. Using D2L Brightspace to enable a CBE model—where students progress at their own pace by showing they’ve mastered different skills—has been a game-changer for us.  

Our first CBE degree was a Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology, and we had to make the learning experience something that really stands out. Together with D2L, we went back to the drawing board with our course design, rebuilding each course around a core competency, which is divided into five program learning outcomes. Students can progress through these outcomes at their own pace, and can access course content, practice exercises, and assessments on their device of choice: desktop, laptop or mobile.  

We’ve made our learning content as “bite-sized” and stackable as possible, too. It’s easier for people to learn in small bursts when they have time. And students can stack up micro-credentials as they go, which they can add to their LinkedIn or CV to showcase the skills they’ve built on their path to a full degree.  

A great thing about using Brightspace to enable our new CBE model is the access to amazing accessibility, mobility and smart features that we just couldn’t find in other learning management systems. We use intelligent agents to send automated, personalized messages to users when they hit milestones like completing a course. And because Brightspace is designed to be accessible and mobile-first, we can guarantee that all our learners are able to interact with our content and get a lot from it—no matter how, where or when they choose to learn. 

With CBE and Brightspace, we’re giving students the remote control for their learning. They can fast forward, pause, rewind or do whatever they need to make the experience work best for them. It helps learners strike a better balance between their education and their life outside of school, and it helps LAPU fulfil our mission of bringing inclusive, accessible learning to everyone.

Equipping Students With Competency-Based Education: A Path to Empowerment

Discover how Los Angeles Pacific University (LAPU) created mobile-first, competency-based educational offerings to support learners advancing on their own terms.

See the success story

Written by:

George Hanshaw
George Hanshaw

Director of e-learning operations, Los Angeles Pacific University

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