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.”
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.”