A learning label is a concise, uniform display to represent learning expectations. It is portable and takes only a small section on the page, but is interactive with content appearing in layers (initiated through mouse-overs and clicks). The succinctness and readability for all parties (from a child to an adult) differentiates the technology from anything else in the marketplace. Furthermore, the label provides all the information needed to make a ROI decision to complete a task or project.
Fairly early in the design process, I found a place for learning standards on the labels. They anchor the learning expectations. In fact, integrating standards is clearly stated on the patent application I filed two years ago. The functionality is in making the learning standards easy to find and assign through the administrative interface and showing them on the labels themselves.
In the first iteration, I got Common Core standards to work. In a second iteration, I added dynamic standards: a group of teachers (or a district) can create their own set of standards. Recently, I added Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Most importantly, I have created a framework which I believe can support most (if not all) relevant learning standards. Rooted in skills, these learning labels should accept standards in higher education and professional development too.
Learning labels are meant to be read and understood by all stakeholders: students, parents, teachers, and practitioners. As said earlier, this is a key differentiator. When I browse other sites that list learning projects, they are often page(s) long, are difficult to understand, and do not provide enough information to make a snap decision to consume the resource. It is possible to understand a learning label in seconds. In the interaction with a label, the participant chooses what to see:
- A young student pays attention to the skills, skill points, how much time it takes, and what they are going to do.
- An older student or parent pays attention to not only what a young student does, but also how much it costs and a generalization of the standards (accomplished by hovering over the standard code on the label).
- A teacher or practitioner pays attention to everything. Perhaps most significantly the standards. (Get a detailed description of the standard by clicking on standard code on the label.)
Finally, uniformity is a differentiator. There is value in not only recognizing and building an expertise in reading the labels, but also collecting data and content that can be interpolated over time. Tracking what skills are being learned, at what level, and how they are being applied (standards) is the basis of a system to track lifelong learning.