Publication Title

How We Hacked Our LMS For Competency Based Education

Document Type

Conference Session

Publication Date



Competency-Based Education, (CBE) is a learning model which focuses on the mastery level of a student. Fundamentally speaking, life skills can equal mastery levels of knowledge in many courses. Competency-based education allows students to advance based on their ability to become proficient within a topic at their own pace. Since students can work through various learning outcomes without time constraints, statistics show that competency-based education can provide students with higher results and a greater understanding of the subject matter without the additional stress of turning in assignments late or not understanding course materials in time to obtain a passing score on the assessment. Non-Traditional students are quickly becoming the new normal when it comes to education, and students of all types are in search of just in time education.

In a nutshell, education can be broken down into five different parts; time, delivery, pace, assessment, and evaluation. While competency-based education and traditional education have many similarities, including the fundamentals, they are accomplished differently. When it comes to CBE, many are interested in the role of the instructor and how instructor based feedback is essential in the overall success of a CBE styled environment. We will go into depth on enhancing student engagement, not to mention, discuss how a CBE based program allows all students to reach mastery levels at their individualized speed. Ultimately, CBE is no longer for non-traditional students, but students classified under any category.

With a little creative course development and a robust LMS, Canvas allows many opportunities to deliver competency-based type learning experiences from mastery paths, mastery grade book and even enabling the students to select their individualized learning model. Students gain the ability to focus on obtaining a mastery level of achievement while instructors can personalize and deliver content fluidly. To achieve the results you want, sometimes you have to hack the system.

This interactive session will not only enhance awareness of competency-based education but show varied ways of applying this methodology with best practices. We will demonstrate the basics of CBE with a pre and post interactive assessment. This fun pre/post assessment will show if you mastered your competency of understanding the concept of CBE, along with a quick think, pair, share which will be used to enhance understanding the differences between traditional and CBE education. We will dive a little deeper and demonstrate various methods of implementing CBE style courses, show a few statistics of how CBE has enhanced retention within many institutions and give a sneak peek of how we hacked our LMS to accommodate our individualized CBE needs.

Competency-based education is still very new in the world of education. This session will be extremely informative to educators from K-12 - higher ed, instructional designers, and administrators. We will discuss everything, including goals, learning objectives, and pedagogy. If you have any questions regarding CBE, now is your opportunity to get them answered.


Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Accelerate Conference


Orlando, FL


Instructional Design

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