An Example

Connecting learning content with competencies in a unified format.


The video above is one piece of content from one of the TLA grantee projects, the BetterLesson Blended Master Teacher Project. The content focused on one strategy as developed and shared by one of their Master Teachers, and focuses on how to set up routines and structures to help students take ownership and get started at the beginning of each class.

In our Model, an educator (or educator developer) might be looking for learning content in one of two distinct ways:

  1. Competency specific. In a certain number of cases, an educator may have a specific learning objective based upon a learning gap he or she has identified. For example, after reading the iNACOL Framework, or getting feedback based upon an aligned observation rubric or self assessment, the educator has identified a domain or standard for learning and improvement. The educator knows what competency it is he or she wants to build, and needs to find content specifically targeted to the competency. The educator will search based on competency.
  2. General interest or topic. In most other cases, an educator will know they want to find content based upon a more general area or specific instructional challenge—for example, an educator might be struggling with setting up class expectations for his or her blended approach and wants to find out how other educators solve the problem. The educator hasn't connected this learning need to a specific competency, so they will search more generally by a content tag.

The goal with the Educator Learning Model (ELM) was to create a way for any educator to solve the problem in either of these cases—from either a competency-specific or more general end. Further, we wanted to make sure that regardless of how a learner found content, the data on how they ended up using or learning from it could be shared across platforms.

For example, the video content above links to both the Educator Learning Model and the iNACOL Framework through the sharing of Elements.

This particular piece of content links through Elements in the iNACOL Framework to one Competency Domain and two corresponding Competencies and to the Educator Learning Model through two Skill Areas and two learning Tags.

Educator Learning Model + iNACOL Framework

While the iNACOL Framework groups both of these qualities under one Domain, Technical Skills, the Educator Learning Model focuses on more practice-based content groupings, here emphasizing the relationship to culture and environment in the strategy. Here, the "Culture: Routines" Tag ties back to the iNACOL Framework as "Domain 4: Competency 3: Standard C," while the "Environment: Physical Structures" Tag ties to "Domain 4: Competency 2: Standard A."

This shallower tree with practice-based groupings and less formal language is designed for usability, both for educators and content creators.

Additionally, by creating a tagging model that is centered around practice but that links back to the iNACOL Framework, a unified standard is made possible that can be used both from a policy and practical perspective.