I-Learn Research Expansion


Research/Material Expansion


Curriculum Design

Understanding By Design


Understanding by Design, or UbD, is a tool utilized for educational planning focused on "teaching for understanding". The emphasis of UbD is on "backward design", the practice of looking at the outcomes in order to design curriculum units, performance assessments, and classroom instruction. The UbD framework was designed by nationally recognized educators Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, and published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


Wiggins, G., & Mctighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design. Alexandria: ASCD.


Formative Assessment


Formative assessment is a range of formal and informal assessment procedures employed by teachers during the learning process in order to modify teaching and learning activities to improve student attainment. It typically involves qualitative feedback (rather than scores) for both student and teacher that focus on the details of content and performance. It is commonly contrasted with summative assessment, which seeks to monitor educational outcomes, often for purposes of external accountability.

Formative assessment is typically contrasted with summative assessment. The former supports teachers and students in decision-making during educational and learning processes, while the latter occurs at the end of a learning unit and determines if the content being taught was retained.

Formative assessment is not distinguished by the format of assessment, but by how the information is used. The same test may act as either formative or summative. However, some methods of assessment are better suited to one or the other purpose.

Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-148. http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/kbla9810.htm

Stiggins, R. (Marzano, 2010) From Formative Assessment to Assessment FOR Learning: A Path to Success in Standards-Based Schools, Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 87, No. 04, December 2005, pp. 324-328.

Marzano, R. J. (2010). Formative Assessment & Standards-Based Grading. Bloomington: Marzano Research Laboratory.

William, D. (2011). Embedded Formative Assessment. Bloomington, IN: Soloution Tree.


Bloom’s Taxonomy


Bloom's Taxonomy is a classification of learning objectives within education proposed in 1956 by a committee of educators chaired by Benjamin Bloom who also edited the first volume of the standard text, Taxonomy of educational objectives: the classification of educational goals (referred to as simply "the Handbook" below). Although named after Bloom, the publication followed a series of conferences from 1949 to 1953, which were designed to improve communication between educators on the design of curricula and examinations.

It refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). Bloom's Taxonomy divides educational objectives into three "domains": Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as knowing/head, feeling/heart and doing/hands respectively). Within the domains, learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels. A goal of Bloom's Taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all three domains, creating a more holistic form of education.

Bloom B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc.

Dave, R. H. (1975). Developing and Writing Behavioral Objectives. (R. J. Armstrong, ed.). Tucson, Arizona: Educational Innovators Press.

Harrow, A. (1972) A Taxonomy of Psychomotor Domain: A Guide for Developing Behavioral Objectives. New York: David McKay.

Krathwohl, D. R., Bloom, B. S., & Masia, B. B. (1973). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, the Classification of Educational Goals. Handbook II: Affective Domain. New York: David McKay Co., Inc.

Simpson E. J. (1972). The Classification of Educational Objectives in the Psychomotor Domain. Washington, DC: Gryphon House.


Student Motivation



Self efficacy is commonly defined as the belief in one's capabilities to achieve a goal or an outcome. Students with a strong sense of efficacy are more likely to challenge themselves with difficult tasks and be intrinsically motivated. These students will put forth a high degree of effort in order to meet their commitments, and attribute failure to things which are in their control, rather than blaming external factors. Self-efficacious students also recover quickly from setbacks, and ultimately are likely to achieve their personal goals. Students with low self-efficacy, on the other hand, believe they cannot be successful and thus are less likely to make a concerted, extended effort and may consider challenging tasks as threats that are to be avoided. Thus, students with poor self-efficacy have low aspirations which may result in disappointing academic performances becoming part of a self-fulfilling feedback cycle.


Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 71-81). New York: Academic Press. (Reprinted in H. Friedman [Ed.], Encyclopedia of mental health. San Diego: Academic Press, 1998).


Margolis, H. McCabe, P. Improving Self-Efficacy and Motivation: What to Do, What to Say.  Intervention in School and Clinic v 41 issue 4, p 218-227


Responsive Classroom


Responsive Classroom is an approach to teaching and learning, which is based on 10 practical strategies that bring together social and academic learning throughout the day. It is founded on the belief that the social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum and that the best learning takes place when children live in a school environment that is kind, safe, respectful, and predictable. It is a nationally acclaimed approach, developed by experienced public school teachers and backed by independent research. It is sponsored by the New England Foundation for Children based in Turners Falls, MA. Since 1983 they have trained more than 100,000 teachers through their high quality workshops and institutes.

Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Sawyer, B.  Primary-Grade Teachers' Self-Efficacy Beliefs, Attitudes toward Teaching, and Discipline and Teaching Practice Priorities in Relation to the "Responsive Classroom" Approach The Elementary School Journal Vol. 104, No. 4 (Mar., 2004), pp. 321-341 Published by: The University of Chicago Press


21st Century Skills

In today’s classroom, the students have diverse backgrounds, a variety of achievement levels, and different learning styles which will all affect their ability to acquire knowledge. Teachers need to move away from the traditional methods of teaching and bring into the classroom new and innovating approaches to teach the content and lifelong skills. It is important to utilize a variety of techniques for the children to build their own understanding through real world applications and interactions with their peers in group activities. “To be productive contributors to society in our 21st century, you need to be able to quickly learn the core content of a field of knowledge while also mastering a broad portfolio of essentials in learning, innovation, technology, and careers skills needed for work and life” (Trilling & Fadel, 2009, p16). Teachers need to prepare students for the jobs that have not yet been created, for the new products that have not yet been invented, and for the new skills to build towards creativity and innovation.

Arising from a number of efforts across the globe to define the essential knowledge, skills and dispositions needed for our increasingly information driven and technologically powered societies2, 21st century learning proponents advocate an expanded set of educational goals, as in the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) learning framework3: The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is “a national organization that advocates for the integration of skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and communication into the teaching of core academic subjects such as English, reading or language arts, world languages, arts, mathematics, economics, science, geography, history, government, and civics” (2009, p. 9).



Trilling, B., Fadel, C. (2009) 21st century skills: learning for life in our times.  San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Zmuda, A. (2010) Breaking Free from Myths About Teaching and Learning. Alexandria, VA: ASCD


Technology/Blended Learning Environments

Blended Learning


Blended learning in educational research refers to a mixing of different learning environments. It combines traditional face-to-face classroom methods with computer-mediated activities. According to its proponents, the strategy creates a more integrated approach for both instructors and learners. Formerly, technology-based materials played a supporting role to face-to-face instruction. Through a blended learning approach, technology will be more important.

For example, consider a traditional class meeting schedule. Say that the course would normally meet Monday-Wednesday-Friday, from 1-3pm. If the institution were to apply a blended learning approach, the course may change so that it meets once per week instead of the usual three-session format. Learning activities that otherwise would have taken place during classroom time can be moved online.

In other circumstances, a greater reliance on technology within the classroom may occur. Activities may be structured around access to online resources, communication via social media or interaction with distance learners in other classrooms or other learning environments.

There are many different approaches to blended learning. It can take on many shapes or forms, depending on the teachers and learners involved. As of now, there is no consensus on a single agreed-upon definition for blended learning. The terms "blended," "hybrid," and "mixed-mode" are used interchangeably in current research literature.


Flipped Classroom


A Flipped classroom is a form of blended learning which encompasses any use of Internet technology to leverage the learning in a classroom, so a teacher can spend more time interacting with students instead of lecturing. This is most commonly being done using teacher created videos that students view outside of class time. It is also known as backwards classroom, reverse instruction and reverse teaching.

The traditional pattern of secondary education has been to have classroom lectures, in which the teacher explains a topic, followed by homework, in which the student does exercises. In flip teaching, the student first studies the topic by himself, typically using video lessons created by the instructor or shared by another educator, such as those provided by the Khan Academy.  In the classroom, the pupil then tries to apply the knowledge by solving problems and doing practical work. The role of the classroom teacher is then to tutor the student when they become stuck, rather than to impart the initial lesson. This allows time inside the class to be used for additional learning-based activities, including use of differentiated instruction and project-based learning.

Flip teaching allows more hands-on time with the instructor guiding the students, allowing them to assist the students when they are assimilating information and creating new ideas (upper end of Bloom's Taxonomy).