Commonwealth Charter Academy Partners with LearningMate to Develop Enhanced Online Courses for Personalized Learning

Background

Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA), an accredited K-12 public cyber charter school serving more than 9,000 Pennsylvania students, is on a mission to develop and deliver personalized and engaging learning experiences through virtual lessons and courses blended with self-paced and real-time instruction.

CCA provides a curriculum with outstanding content coverage in both depth and accuracy for each grade based on Pennsylvania’s Core Standards and eligible content assessed by the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA). Its curriculum design needs to accommodate CCA’s diverse student population while delivering an engaging, personalized learning experience in a virtual environment. CCA continuously measures student progress and provides for extensive remediation and personalized intervention, with optimal use of pedagogy, curriculum, and technology.

Envisioning a more effective and more engaging curriculum, CCA began a journey to develop world-class
curricular resources specifically designed to meet the unique needs of its students and families. While CCA’s teachers were empowered to build courses, their need for curriculum design expertise, course and copy review, accessibility assistance, and project management support remained. The school enlisted the support of LearningMate, a digital enablement partner with the ability to quickly scale a team of course development and curriculum experts and extensive experience in course design, enrichment, and management.

The Solution

While CCA’s curriculum team and teachers developed lessons, built curriculum, and designed courses to adhere to their unique instructional model, LearningMate quickly assembled a team of course design professionals, editors, and accessibility experts. As part of LearningMate’s role in the partnership, LearningMate enhanced the pedagogy and design philosophy of CCA’s courses by suggesting enhancements and process efficiencies, defining design and development guidelines in adherence to Pennsylvania’s state standards, and providing professional development seminars to further train teachers in course authoring and design principles.

LearningMate also set up a course review team to audit the more than 110 courses developed by CCA’s teachers. LearningMate made recommendations to improve student engagement and enhance the learning experience, while accessibility specialists ensured courses adhered to accessibility requirements. Throughout the project, LearningMate’s project management team guided CCA’s team of more than 50 teachers and curriculum experts, managed the development workflow, and ensured the course development process was seamlessly executed on schedule.

The joint collaboration between CCA and LearningMate ensured a balance between conceptual understanding, skill, and procedural fluency. As CCA’s teacher’s built lessons based on prior knowledge and made connections between different sections within a subject area and across different curricular disciplines, LearningMate ensured assessments were distributed across the curriculum and designed with attention to higher-complexity items as measured by Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Index.

Value to the Client

Through its partnership with LearningMate, CCA developed a curriculum structure based on current trends in subject matter presentation that included more than 110 online courses. By enhancing courses with multimedia videos, hands-on activities, and technology-enhanced assessments, CCA enabled a rich, engaging learning experience that emphasized communication and collaboration among learners. CCA also received valuable course development style guides, professional training, and peace of mind knowing courses were properly aligned to core standards and learning objectives.

By applying LearningMate’s recommended pedagogic principles, instructional design principles, and best practices, CCA successfully developed an outstanding, standards-aligned K-12 curriculum that engages learners to actively master skills and concepts. As a result, CCA’s students are able to develop key cognitive strategies to hone skills related to problems with varying levels of difficulty, respond to higher-order thinking questions, explain their thinking and critique the reasoning of others, and become proficient with a range of learning strategies. CCA continues to work with LearningMate to further enrich and enhance its online courses.

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