More About the Process

working with leaders in the blended learning professional development space to build a robust model.

In setting out to develop this competency-based, interoperable, blended-learning focused model for teacher learning, we asked several key design questions:

  • How do you measure success in the development of the skills associated with blended learning?
  • How do you demonstrate the achievement of competencies?
  • How do you track the progress of the development of competencies?
  • How do you quantify the skills associated with blended learning? 
  • How can content be shared, searched, and accessed across platforms and providers?
  • How can engagement with content be aggregated to show learning?
  • How can the theory of blended learning and the practice of blended learning be unified?

Looking at our learning content as well as the TLA and iNACOl Blended Learning Educator Competency Framework, we undertook two parallel activities:

1) We translated the Educator Competencies to more granular, action-oriented learning objectives, which we termed "Elements". The original Framework, which was created by a diverse committee of practitioners and leaders to describe the qualities of good blended learning teachers, it does not sufficiently identify the actions of good blended learning educators in practice. By breaking each competency standard into Elements, we developed a set of include an atomic, actionable, and most importantly practice-based Elements, that correspond to the Framework's Standards, Competencies, and Domains.

This step helped us answer some of our our original design questions. The Elements are actionable, they can be measured, they can be demonstrated, they can be quantified, and they can be observed. However, theory and practice remained distanced and there was not a way to account for the many ways in which individual pieces of content could be aligned to many of the Elements themselves. 

2) We independently mapped all of the learning content created by human capital providers, and then compared it to the universe of learning Elements from the Competency Framework. Our comparative analysis of the content created by providers based on real-world context and observation of blended learning environments and educator professional development helped us create a set of competency Skill Areas, with more granular learning Tags. These Skill Areas also directly correspond to the discrete learning Elements from the Framework. 

Putting these three pieces of work together, we created a model that could link our content to competencies as well as transform learner activities into discrete pieces of data. In the Educator Learning Model, Skill Areas, learning Tags, and learning Elements are nested, and are directly related back from the learning Elements up through the Standards, Competencies, and Domains identified in the iNACOL Framework. Additionally, individual pieces or grouped modules of content can be tagged with multiple learning Tags and thus shared learning Elements. This allows for a system for measuring educator competency development over time. This bridge has made it possible for the theory of blended learning teaching and the practice of blended learning teaching to be unified through data.

We've made great progress in this work, but are also confident that teaching and learning practices, resources, school models, and learner needs will grow and change over time. Therefore, the Educator Learning Model has been designed to develop, grow, and change alongside the technologies, theories, and best practices of education through a modification process.