Research-Based Practices

The Educurious integrated solution is developed with interlinked learning design principles in mind. These principles are based upon research related to how, why, and where people learn. Following each learning design principle listed below is a short explanation of the intended meaning of the principle.

1. Position Students as Developing Experts

Students are developing disciplinary experts who are learning contemporary ideas and gaining experiences with contemporary tools and practices. They actively drive their educational experiences rather than passively receive knowledge. As a result, students develop disciplinary identities.

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  • Provide learning opportunities in which students develop and deepen their understanding of a discipline?
  • Provide opportunities for students to practice the methods and processes of a discipline using contemporary tools?
  • Offer opportunities for students to use disciplinary tools to access resources, process and share information, communicate, and create products and solutions that address complex questions?
  • Encourage students to work at the edges of their current knowledge, pushing the boundaries and driving toward new knowledge and understandings?

2. Provide Extended Learning Opportunities to Engage Students in Project- or Problem-Based Learning

Project/problem-based learning is organized around carefully crafted problems, highlighting critical thinking, problem solving, and collaborative skills. Students identify problems, formulate hypotheses, conduct data searches, perform experiments, formulate solutions, and determine the best "fit" of solutions to a real and relevant problem in the world.

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  • Discern whether the "need to know" question is challenging, engaging, and meaningful?
  • Define appropriate goals — the how and why of the project that lead students to successfully tackle the "need to know" question?
  • Ensure that students receive the scaffolding they need to advance their understanding?
  • Provide multiple formative assessments with opportunities for student revisions?
  • Develop a classroom culture that promotes collaboration, problem solving, and a sense of agency?
  • Continually reflect on how the learning activities are relevant to the project’s overall goals?
  • Publish student work online, make presentations, or pitch their ideas to a panel of judges?

3. Students Progress along Competency-Based Learning Pathways

Students experience multiple opportunities to develop ideas and skills/practices over time with increasing sophistication. They engage, apply, and use their developing understandings and competencies, deepening their learning and expertise development over time.

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  • Leverage technology to personalize learning?
  • Ensure students apply knowledge and skills while advancing toward expertise?
  • Use formative assessment to determine progress toward competencies?
  • Ensure that students have many and varied opportunities to improve skills over time?
  • Provide opportunities for students to set goals and assess their progress?
  • Ensure that students receive the academic and developmental support and challenges they need?
  • Structure learning experiences that lead to increased sophistication over time?

4. Provide Continuous Performance Feedback and Metacognitive Facilitation

Students need targeted, meaningful feedback on multiple iterations of their work, with opportunities to reflect on their learning. Skillful use of performance feedback and metacognitive facilitation allows students to effectively navigate decisions about their learning, educational, and career trajectories.

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  • Provide students with opportunities to evaluate their products and performance against criteria?
  • Provide clear expectations for high-quality work?
  • Include peer-to-peer feedback as a regular practice?
  • Provide multiple cycles of inquiry and reflection?
  • Set contexts for students to develop and test theories?
  • Apply student-developed models to new situations, testing the range of applicability?
  • Provide opportunities for students to present their predictions, experiments and results to an audience for feedback?

5. Access Experts to Provide Multi-Faceted Learning Support

Experts from a variety of fields provide feedback to students as part of the intent to position students as developing disciplinary experts. Experts help support students by providing resources, answering questions, and outlining their own educational and career trajectories. As these adults share their own struggles, students see that expertise is developed through hard work and persistence.

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  • Encourage experts to make their thinking visible to students by modeling the central aspects of their work, and by showing how strategies work in an authentic situation?
  • Provide models of effective feedback for experts?
  • Connect students to experts who can provide authentic resources?
  • Encourage experts to evaluate student work against community/workplace standards?
  • Conference with students as they receive feedback from experts?
  • Encourage students to contact experts and ask for clarification when needed?
  • Provide opportunities for experts to see student progression and improvement over several iterations of their work?

6. Create Experiences for Students to Learn Contemporary Knowledge, Skills, and Practices

Learning experiences are aligned with emerging standards such as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), College Readiness Standards, and 21st-century skills. These standards represent the contemporary knowledge, skills, and practices currently regarded as necessary in order for students to prepare for tomorrow’s careers.

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  • Teach and support writing, reading, and comprehension of complex text within a discipline?
  • Inspire higher-order thinking skills (e.g., comparison, analysis, synthesis, etc.) in my students?
  • Develop/deepen understanding of the big ideas and enduring concepts of a discipline?
  • Sufficiently encompass the content knowledge and skills required for success in a globally oriented world?
  • Implement the teaching practices and instructional shifts outlined in current shared educational standards?
  • Include opportunities for students to develop cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal skills?

7. Build Upon Students' Prior Interests and Identities to Promote Seamless Learning and Relevant Participation in Authentic Pursuits

Learning takes place not only in schools, but also in a variety of other places. Connecting learners’ in- and out-of-school experiences — and the interests, identities, and cultural practices attached to those experiences — facilitates meaningful learning. Therefore, learning experiences should be tailored so that students have some choice and voice with respect to their learning.

How will I... What do I need to know in order to...
  • Understand the interests and identities of my students?
  • Provide a safe and supportive culture that encourages students to use their home and community language resources?
  • Ensure that students have the opportunity to bring their individual life experiences, cultures, and strengths to bear on learning tasks?
  • Ensure that students have opportunities to use the rich and varied funds of knowledge from their homes and communities?
  • Examine my own assumptions about what and how my students learn?
  • Engage students in active learning (requires doing, building, creating, experimenting, investigating)
  • Provide choice and voice to students as a regular practice?

8. Cultivate Thriving Social Learning Networks

Learning is a social phenomenon. Students cultivate social networks constructed of experts, teachers, peers, etc., in order to learn from the experiences and expertise of others. This, in turn, leads to creativity and deeper learning.

How will I... What do I need to know in order to...
  • Develop communication and collaboration skills?
  • Effectively use social networks as a learning support?
  • Ask questions to stimulate action within networks of students or between and among experts?
  • Use social networks in my own work as a professional practice?
  • Respond to the needs of a network or group?
  • Provide tools for virtual communication and collaboration?

9. Leverage Video, Disciplinary Tools, and Digital Literacies

Engaging in contemporary disciplinary ideas, skills, and practices requires that students have access to learning tools beyond the traditional textbook. Students need access to high-quality media, disciplinary tools, and applicable technology. These tools also ensure that students become digitally literate, understanding current technologies and how they are used.

How will I... What do I need to know in order to...
  • Use technology to foster creativity and innovative thinking?
  • Use technology to explore the world outside the classroom and provide access to learning 24/7?
  • Use applicable technology and disciplinary tools to provide simulated experiences?
  • Use games to build skills and foster collaboration?
  • Use cutting-edge disciplinary tools to answer questions and solve problems?
  • Foster personal responsibility in a virtual environment?

10. Support Multiple Means of Expression

Giving students opportunities to express themselves in a variety of ways will help ensure that all learners gain practice presenting ideas and showcasing their competencies. Further, students gain confidence that their ideas and competencies are highly valued and not simply the "right answer".

How will I... What do I need to know in order to...
  • Provide opportunities for students to present and consider multiple viewpoints on the same event or idea?
  • Represent content that is accessible to all students?
  • Individualize learning, or the approach to learning?
  • Use student presentations as a regular practice?
  • Include the community in project presentations as participants or to provide feedback to students?
  • Structure opportunities for students to form and present a reasoned judgment with evidence, defend a person or position, entertain a particular audience, explain how something works, or teach a skill?

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