Making Mastery Accessible

The Mastery Learning Resource Bank is organized around a practitioners glossary of terms that inclueds working definitions and designers' tips, accompanies by a set of curated resources. Here, you can explore the best thinking in the field on topics such as Flexibly-Paced Learning, Personalization, and Learning Progressions, while also discovering what Data Backpacks are, and how to distinguish them from Learner Profiles.

The Resource Bank was developed in partnership with Springpoint, and supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York. This section of the Design Lab is very active. We are continually updating our curated resources and refining our working definitions.

Personalization
Personalization refers to instruction paced to learning needs, tailored to learning preferences, and adapted to the specific interests of different learnings. In an environment that is fully personalized, the learning objectives and content as well as the method and pace may all vary (so personalization encompasses differentiation and individualization).

 

Personalized learning environments are primarily characterized by the tremendous agency, voice and choice that students exhibit around their learning, particularly with regard to the path, place and pace of movement towards mastery. Programs that have embraced personalization ensure that students have the opportunity to learn anytime/anywhere, access content, set goals, and determine when and how to demonstrate their mastery of competencies.

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Resources » Type of Organization

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Anywhere-Anytime Learning

This term refers to the belief that legitimate (i.e. "credit-bearing") and effective learning can and should occur at any time and in any place. Extended learning opportunities are those that require that educators, families and students will seek learning opportunities beyond the schoolhouse walls. These can include enrollment in post-secondary classes and programs, online opportunities, real-world experiences such as internships, and/or areas of study defined and pursued by learners. Also referred to Anywhere-Anytime Learning.

Asynchronous Learning

A student-centered learning approach provides students with the tools and assets they need in order to learn at their own pace. Asynchronous learning environments can also provide students with choices about the sequence and focus of their learning (as occurs in self-paced and flexibly-paced learning environments), but this is not a required feature of asynchronous learning. Asynchronous learning differs from a cohort model, in which students are grouped (by age, and often by ability as well), and then expected to progress at a synchronized rate.

Blended Learning

Learning occurs in both a supervised face-to-face learning community AND in an online setting (it can, but does not have to, include community-based learning experiences). In a blended learning program students have a measure of control over the path, pace and timing of their learning.

Data Backpack

Data Backpacks are related to Learner Profiles and Personalized Learning Plans. The concept is that students would arrive in classrooms with an electronic record of their interests, accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses, goals, and plans. This backpack of data would be available to each teacher and student, at any time, so that curriculum and assessment planning could be truly personalized to students' individual and collective needs.

Flexible Modular Schedule (Flex-Mod)

Learning is structured around student needs, interests, and pacing, rather than around the typical 4, 6, or 8 period day found in most high schools. To achieve this, the school day is broken into 10, 15 or 20 minute segments (mods) that can be organized into larger blocks of time very easily: some learning may happen in chunks of 40 or 50 minutes, some may occur in 20-30 minute chunks, others may occur in chunks of several hours or a full day. In a flex-mod time, space and staffing is organized in a customized manner, based on student progress.

Grouping Plan

In High Schools organized around the Carnegie Unit, this is often called Programming: the process of assigning students to classes (i.e. grouping students). Some schools also group students according to ability (tracking). In a a Mastery Learning System, where learning is self-paced or flexibily-paced (see definitions) the grouping plan has to be flexible.

Learner Profiles

Learner Profiles document the ways a student best learns. Learner Profiles typically include a broad range of data: demographic data, daba about student interests, learning preferences, descriptions of the learning environment student prefer, inter- and intra-personal skills, existing competencies and those that need to be developed (in the personal, social-emotional, academic and career arenas).

Learning Opportunities - Extended

This term refers to the belief that legitimate (i.e. "credit-bearing") and effective learning can and should occur at any time and in any place. Extended learning opportunities are those that require that educators, families and students will seek learning opportunities beyond the schoolhouse walls. These can include enrollment in post-secondary classes and programs, online opportunities, real-world experiences such as internships, and/or areas of study defined and pursued by learners. Also referred to Anywhere-Anytime Learning.

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