At EdBooks, we use a common learning-progression model in each of our Lessons, and repeat a variation of the same model in each of the Concept Pages within a Lesson. Our goal in doing this is to reinforce and scaffold the learning process at every level, and to ensure that our Lessons function as stand-alone learning components that don’t lose any of their core learning integrity when re-sequenced or customized.
The EdBooks Learning Progression Model
Contextualization: Establish a context for lesson concepts before transmitting them in full detail. Help students answer the “Why” question. “Why is this information important in today’s world?”
Elaboration: Answer the “What” question. “What are the specific concepts students need to understand so that they can begin applying them on their own?” Provide a broad range of perspectives, both from expert sources as well as via community conversation.
Relevance: Help students find motivation for internalizing and applying information in a way that will lead to mastery. Facilitate the exploration of lesson concepts and their deeper/broader implications.
Agency: Transition learners to a position of taking personal ownership of lesson concepts and to applying the information in ways that are personally relevant.
Mastery: Give learners an opportunity to demonstrate an applied synthesis of what they have learned.
Our goal is to follow and reinforce this learning progression in each of our EdBooks Lessons. We begin each Lesson with material that contextualizes students and prepares them for the material being presented. In other words, we give students information “pegs” on which they can hang our content before presenting Lesson concepts formally. Throughout the learning process, our goal is to provide a context for information, present and elaborate the information, and then help students identify with the information personally. This enables them to apply the information in a meaningful way, and to move toward mastery.
The EdBooks Lesson Outline
A generic EdBooks Lesson outline takes on the structure shown in this image.
Our goal throughout the Lesson is to provide information within the context of a scaffolded learning environment where concepts are reinforced systematically.
Within our Lessons, we use rich media pages to represent content, activities, formal and informal discussions, and assessments. In this way, each Concept Page functions as its own mini-Lesson, providing students all the information and practice they need to understand the concept being presented.
Each Lesson concludes with a Summary page, which includes a summative assessment option, as well as other activities (individual or group) that allow students to demonstrate mastery and understanding.
EdBooks Concept Pages
To optimize the learning experience, we also mirror this same learning progression model in each of the specific Concept Pages. We can see how this is applied in the outline below.
Contextualization: The concept page begins with a Contextualization component, in which we engage the student, through inquiry, to begin thinking about the concept we are going to present. This inquiry generally takes the form of a brief reflection question or poll that we follow up with question prompts for informal conversation. This allows students to create their own individual contexts for the information we’re sharing with them on the Concept Page.
Elaboration (Part 1): We transition from our opening contextualization exercise to the presentation of a specific concept, in this case, “The Original Robber Barons.” Our goal here is threefold: (1) provide a bridge that links the initial reflection to the concept being presented, (2) create a framework for our video presentation that optimizes information flow-through, and (3) scaffold in our Big Questions for the overall Lesson. We continue the contextualization process with our Big Questions for the Lesson, along with a related example specific to the concept being shared.
Here is an example of what this step in the Elaboration phase looks like.
Elaboration (Part 2): Having framed the concept and prepared students for further elaboration, we are now ready for our expert to provide a video presentation that explains the concept in greater detail and with richer perspective. The video includes graphic and textual reinforcement, and is accompanied by transcripts to support accessibility and study preferences.
Relevance: We’ve provided a personal context for the concept, and delivered and reinforced an explanation. We’ve also scaffolded that explanation within the context of the overall lesson.
Our next step is to help students see the personal relevance of the concept. In our Concept Pages, we use different narrative or story-based models to accomplish this. Story is particularly effective for showing the personal application of abstract concepts or, in other words, for modeling relevance.
We use three different narrative models to show relevance and to push students toward ownership of the information: (1) journal entries by characters students can identify with; (2) interactive, branching scenario stories in which student choices lead to different story outcomes (which are explained afterward), and (3) case studies or actual companies and/or situations. Within a Lesson, these are applied in order: a journal entry for Concept 1, a branching scenario story for Concept 2, and a case study for Concept 3. In this way, these relevance components build in their complexity and in their contribution to student mastery of the Lesson concepts.
Agency: We build on the Relevance section by providing students an opportunity to explore the concept through a personal or group application activity. Students are encouraged to choose or design their exploration activity (to make it their own), and the parameters for assignments are tied directly to information in the Elaboration and Relevance sections.
Mastery: The final step in each Concept Page is the “Check My Progress” feature. This is a self-assessment that allows students to evaluate how well they have internalized the core information presented on the page. This section can also be used as an outline for reviewing page content.
Our goal, with each EdBooks product, is to provide a learning environment that guides students from a point of initial inquiry or reflection all the way to personal ownership of concept information and a demonstration of mastery or understanding. We achieve this by using and reinforcing the same, experiential learning progression in each Lesson, as well as in the Concept Pages of each Lesson. We use narrative components and overarching questions to help students remain connected to the content and their learning goals.