Reflections on a successful first time visit to 2023 UPCEA Annual Conference

Last month, the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) hosted its largest annual conference yet, attracting over 1,000 professionals in the continuing education sector from across North America. UPCEA has long been a respected community and thought leader in the field of continuing education in the United States.

Drieam, as a member of UPCEA, was thrilled to participate in this annual event to showcase our course management platform tailor-made for continuing education, Eduframe. Eduframe has found great success in Europe and beyond, thus joining the UPCEA community was a natural fit.

As an exhibitor, Drieam aimed to (1) engage with as many professionals as possible to discuss the challenges they face when building and scaling continuing education programs at their institutions, and (2) showcase Eduframe to the UPCEA community.

Course management, purpose-built for Canvas

In the weeks leading up to the conference, we hosted 2 exclusive warm-up webinar sessions in which we introduced the passionate continuing education team at Drieam, we shared insights from our existing customers (Online Workforce College, Schola Medica) and already had some interesting conversations with people from the UPCEA community.

With this initial success, it came as no surprise that our booth at UPCEA would draw interest from conference participants. But the actual amount of people actively approaching and engaging in conversations with us was astounding!

We displayed our Course Management Platform for continuing education, purpose-built for Canvas. Eduframe helps a large number of international continuing education departments to increase enrollment, reduce administrative burden, and offer engaging online learning experiences.

Clearly, this message resonated with visitors at the booth, leading to interesting conversations about their challenges with legacy solutions or spreadsheets to manage their continuing education.

Bridging society’s knowledge & skills gap

As it is written in Drieam’s mission; we empower educators to bridge society’s knowledge and skills gap. And so it felt right hearing that this is a very relevant claim for the UPCEA community. Many educators at UPCEA are working to meet the changing needs of the modern workforce. Skill- and competency based learning; the planning of programs & courses and how these can be better adapted to the skills employers and employees are looking for, have been discussed in-depth.

Eduframe helps educators address these challenges by offering a flexible course and program management platform, which is especially important in continuing education. Educators can use Eduframe to offer stackable and personalized courses, blocks of courses and complete programs; both for online, face-to-face and hybrid learning, for-credit and not-for-credit.

Alternative credentials are on everyone’s mind

Many topics were coined during the conference. From hybrid learning experiences to stackable credentials and from program planning to how to adapt to the wishes of learners and employers to online learning. Many of the challenges we heard sound familiar, as they are perfectly in line with what we are working to solve with Eduframe. One topic that stood out more than others, is Alternative Credentials, which is emerging as the next big thing in higher education.

UPCEA for one, started with the Alternative Credentials network last year, to bring more focus to this topic, by sharing best practices and emerging trends related to non-degree or non-credit credentials. Next to that, later this year Convergence will take place, a conference collaboration between UPCEA and AACRAO focussing specifically on credential innovation. During the Opening Session, UPCEA CEO Bob Hansen pointed out the importance of alternative-, micro- or skill credentials, comparing it to where Online Learning was 20 years ago: many doubts around quality of education, but with a huge potential; coining it the new frontier of higher education.

At Drieam we understand that alternative credentials is an important topic for continuing – and higher education institutions to address in the near future, but it seems many people are still struggling to get a grip on this trend. Drieam will continue to explore this topic further, especially looking into what is needed for educators to be able to offer these new credentials through their course management platform.

All in all, Drieam’s participation in UPCEA’s Annual Conference 2023 was a huge success. We would like to thank UPCEA for hosting such an excellent conference and for the opportunity to have meaningful and insightful conversations on continuing education.

We are thrilled to see that our mission of bridging society’s skill and knowledge gap resonated with the continuing education community. It has been insightful to engage with professionals in the continuing education sector and discuss the challenges they face when building and scaling continuing education programs. It is rewarding to see that Eduframe, the course management platform tailor-made for continuing education, can help educators address these challenges. With Eduframe’s focus on personalized learning experiences and stackable credentials, Drieam is well-positioned to help educators adapt to the changing needs of the modern workforce and help learners gain skills and knowledge they need to succeed.

Would you like to find out how Eduframe can help build and scale your continuing education business?

About the Author: Guido van Glabbeek

Guido has a passion for innovation in continuing education.