The role of digital learning platforms in aligning curricula with standards

The pandemic has disrupted the functioning and performance of education systems around the world, some of which have already been highlighted in several respects. As soon as the pandemic hit its first peak, more than 55 million school children in the United States were confined to distance learning. The school closures, along with the associated public health and economic crises, have presented great challenges for students and their teachers.

One of these challenges was coping with the loss of learning, as well as ensuring that they had acquired skills in accordance with what was expected of their respective standards. As schools prepare to open for the new school year on September 21, this concern is becoming increasingly evident. How will schools even know about the learning gaps of the last 18 months / previous standards? Even before the pandemic, aligning the curriculum with standards was a big challenge.

Why program alignment is necessary

Staff, administrators and educators in state education agencies rely heavily on the results of student assessments. That is why they ensure that assessments reflect the breadth and depth of the standards that guide instruction. To this end, they need standards that clearly define the content and skills that students need to acquire at each grade level to prepare them for college and career preparation.

Likewise, educators and district administrators need learning materials / practice tests and assessments that reflect state and / or district standards. If and when all three aspects (assessments, standards, and curriculum) are fully aligned, students can learn engaging content and they can demonstrate what they know and can do through fair measures of achievement. For teachers, knowing each student’s learning gaps is crucial.

In other words, curriculum alignment plays a crucial role in “ensure consistency and homogeneity between the expected outcomes as specified in the formal curriculum and teaching methods, assessment tasks and classroom learning activities, ”according to the International Bureau of Education (IBE).

Benefits of curriculum alignment

  • Increase the effectiveness of curriculum conversations

Some concepts in ELA (English Language, arts) and mathematics are simply definitional in nature, while others are much more nuanced. This makes alignment essential so that your content can go beyond just defining a term to help a student apply that concept in the real world. You can even develop a common, standardized language that will allow your educators to identify overlaps and gaps in the curriculum and compare them. It facilitates rich discussions on the similarities, differences and rationale for program choices among educators and / or educational institutions.

If a course’s assessments, teaching, learning, and assessment (TLA) goals are clearly defined and conceptually linked, you can properly assess learning progress, based on what students have actually been taught. A grade represents the operationalization of the knowledge, skills and abilities that the standards claim that a student should have acquired during that year (for example, an “A” indicates mastery). When your curriculum and teaching methods are perfectly aligned, you can ensure that your students’ learning has been at the optimum level.

  • Avoid the impact of misalignment on students

Students can be exposed to cognitive overload and stress if they have to compensate for a misalignment in their program. The impact of misalignment has been known for over a decade now, if not more. What’s more 2018 study revealed that the misalignment leads to a lack of awareness among students about their position in the program. Poor alignment in the curriculum can even lead to students being under-prepared and overwhelmed or, in some cases, over-prepared and bored.

How to Align Programs in a Blended Learning Environment

With the growing emphasis on digitizing the learning experience, words like “rigorous” and “aligned” are often used. However, school program providers are often unable to deliver on their promises. The first thing a digital publishing company needs to do is find specialists who are not only experts in one area, but who also have sufficient teaching experience. When your instructional designers team up with these specialists, they can properly research the standards and create aligned lesson plans and outlines.

All types of educational materials must go through multiple review cycles before they are ready for delivery to schools and districts. Work with a reputable digital publishing platform like Magic box, will ensure that your completed documents are perfectly aligned with the standards they aim to cover.

If you ask a group of teachers to name their main challenge, they will probably answer managing the classroom environment. With the eLearning approach, this challenge remains a constant. So aim to provide engaging experiences for learners, with age-appropriate use of multimedia, storylines, and real-world characters or storylines.

This will help students better understand nuanced concepts, especially in ELA. After all, the best way to manage a group of learners is to create a learning environment and classes that engage them, provide empowerment opportunities for learners, and actively involve students. If you hear your students say that they are eager to work with these learning materials, you have achieved your goal of involving them.

Educators are constantly striving to provide students with personalized learning, thus providing the basis for the process of designing digital curricula. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of the blended learning approach, allowing educators to use edtech tools and create a fully customizable curriculum for individualized learning.

With access to MagicBox creation tools, they can create an atmosphere that encourages students to choose their own learning adventure.

However, truly personalized learning is not just about letting students do what they want. Program alignment cannot be ignored and educators can use tools such as learning analysis and online assessments to make sure they teach students what they need. Using digital resources means that they can access essential information about reading ability, reading activity and the popularity of the title among their students.

Another important thing about the design of study programs is that their creation process never ends. Every digital publishing company should work closely with teachers and administrators, as well as schools and districts, to keep abreast of the latest changes. Feedback is extremely important to maintain curriculum alignment. It’s an iterative process.

There are always adjustments going on and a good publisher or electronics tech company will always be aware of that. They will make improvements not only to standards, but also to the process by which people evaluate them to maintain alignment and efficiency of their equipment.

Alignment of standards with MagicBox

Educators are now able to be facilitators of learning, rather than mere reservoirs of knowledge. They can use mobile learning platforms to transform the K-12 education landscape and easily ensure curriculum alignment.

MagicBox offers an effective way to facilitate alignment with standards and generation of reliable assessment data to meet the educational needs of each student. The “tag hierarchy” feature on the platform allows educators to obtain structured reports using the tag information mapped to the assessments.

Our team is ready to help you overcome the challenges of curriculum alignment and create high quality courses that are in sync with the latest standards. Contact us to find out how we can help you customize our award-winning platform to suit your needs.

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