Continuing Education

Competency-based platform extends into professional development for teachers

Ricard Lorenzana

Assistant Dean Ricardo Lorenzana

Ricardo Lorenzana, assistant dean of the School of Extended Education, spent a few days in Washington, D.C., in June explaining to continuing education leaders from other universities how Brandman University is using competency-based education to create courses for teachers.

The flexible learning platform developed with Sagence Learning for Brandman MyPath is now being used for Extended Education courses. A pair of grants, one a state grant with Woodlake School District for improving teacher education and the other from Better Together California, made the development of the courses possible.

Unlike Brandman MyPath, the professional development courses for teachers are not part of a degree program. They do provide similar educational benefits, including self-paced learning done on a person’s preferred schedule.

Lorenzana’s presentation, “Leveraging Competency-Based Design and Technology for Workforce Development and Continuing Education,” was part of the Summit for Online Leadership and Administration and Roundtable presented by UPCEA, the Association for Professional, Continuing and Online Education. Jenny Yu, an instructional designer for Sagence, was his co-presenter.

The presentation highlighted assessment, design, personalized feedback from mentors, building a community of users, and how data analytics built into the program provide course developers with the information they need to make adjustments.

As part of the Professional Development for Educators portfolio, Brandman School of Extended Education recently launched nine new courses with topics ranging from “Integrated ELD Instruction in Math” to “Applying Brain Based Teaching Strategies.” Students were given six months to complete the professional development courses. Lorenzana said the program developers were pleased with the high rate of completion.

The level of engagement – how long a person spent finishing each competency, the number of messages they sent and how often they engaged with others taking the courses – was of particular interest to those who attended the presentation in Washington.

“They were interested in learning how to increase engagement through data,” said Lorenzana. 

Brandman University is ahead of many of the universities at the UPCEA conference when it comes to creating programs such as this, said Lorenzana. “Their extension programs are more traditional and just starting to deal with the idea of online credits. We almost take online for granted.”

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