Our research and development learning labs design and develop workshops, training, books, curricular resources, challenges, events & experiences, whitepapers, research reports, podcasts, media, and other experimental products.

We also partner with organizations to design and manage research and development teams that serve as an extension of existing schools and organizations or to help address a strategic need. Please contact us if you are interested in discussing this option.


Workshops, Webinars, Presentations, & Online Courses

The Learning Beyond Letter Grades Workshop
Format: Four 60 minute sessions (webinar or in-person)
Lab: Learning Beyond Letter Grades Lab
Please complete this form to inquire about scheduling for your group.

Description: Why do so many schools use letter grades? What do they tell us and fail to tell us about the learners? What is the relationship between letter grades, student learning, and assessment? This 4-hour workshop will allow participants to consider different ways to augment or enhance the common letter grade system by designing a variety of formative assessment or feedback strategies. Participants will examine the benefits and limitations of a variety of options: peer assessment & workshopping, self-assessment, portfolio assessment, narrative assessment, authentic assessment, and competency-based assessment. As a way to develop a deeper understanding of the subject, attendees will be challenged to examine a variety of real world examples of classrooms that use or support these different assessment models in place of or in addition to a traditional letter grade system.

Target Audience: We offer three versions of this workshop. One is for those who work in a 6-12 school. The second is for those who work in residential undergraduate and graduate education. The third is for those who facilitate online learning for undergraduate or graduate students.

The Learning Beyond Letter Grades Presentation & Discussion
Format: One 90 minute sessions (webinar or in-person)
Lab: Learning Beyond Letter Grades Lab
Please complete this form to inquire about scheduling for your group.

Description: This presentation and facilitated discussion is designed to help school communities (school leaders, educators, board members, parents, students, or any combination) engage in dialogue about the benefits and limitations of moving away from letter grades. The session will introduce participants to different options and engage in meaningful dialogue about benefits, limitations, concerns, and opportunities related to such a change.

Target Audience: This is designed for k-12 school communities that are at the early stages of considering alternatives to using a letter grade system.

Introduction to the The Promising & Possibility of Human-Centered Learning Environments
Format: One 60 minute session (webinar or in-person)
Lab: Human-Centered Learning Environment Lab
Please complete this form to inquire about scheduling for your group.

Description: How do we create more humane and inspiring learning environments? Much of the modern education system is built upon values like standardization, efficiency, mass production, quantification, mechanization, and technology. These priorities play an important role in modern education and society, yet none are capable of drawing learners into inspired, meaning-rich, authentic, engaging, and transformational learning experiences. For that, we must turn to the best of ancient knowledge and modern research. Based upon the book, A Vision and Framework for Human-Centered Learning Environments, this introductory session offers a vision and framework for human-centered learning environments that prioritize deeply human phenomena like adventure, agency, compassion, connectedness, experimentation, play, mastery, growth, meaning, purpose, wonder, and mystery.

This session provides and overview of the framework. We are developing a more in-depth 8-part webinar and online course as well. Please inquire if you would like to be notified when that is available.

Target Audience: We offer three versions of this session. One is for those who work in a 6-12 school context. The second is for those who work in residential undergraduate and graduate education. The third is for those who facilitate online learning for undergraduate or graduate students.

The Human-Centered Learning Environments Boot Camp / Course Coming Soon
Format: Eight 45-minute session (series of webinars, or 2-day / 8-hour in-person boot camp)
Lab: Human-Centered Learning Environment Lab
Please complete this form to inquire about scheduling for your group.

Description: Including and building upon the introduction to human-centered learning environments, this in-depth & hands-on boot camp / course equips participants with examples and tools for designing learning experiences and environments inspired by each of the 7 core human-centered priorities: quests & adventures, agency & action, compassion & connectedness, experimentation & play, mastery & growth, meaning & purpose, and wonder & mystery.

Target Audience: We offer three versions of this session. One is for 6-12 educators and academic staff. The second is for higher education faulty & academic staff. The third is for those who work in a parish education setting.

Designing and Facilitating Life Experiments for Learners
Format: Three 60 minute sessions (webinar or in-person)
Lab: Life Experiment Lab
Please complete this form to inquire about scheduling for your group.

Description: This 3-part workshop is designed to help educators explore the promise and possibility of a simple quest-based and experiential learning framework that challenges learners to engage in real-world “life experiments.” Informed by the field of positive psychology and “positive psychology interventions”, this workshop introduces learners to the concept of a life experiment, provides examples and opportunities for participants to experience one or more, and then guides participants in designing and leading time-bound life experiments with their students.

Target Audience: We have three versions of this workshop. One is for 6-12 educators. The second is for those who teach or help design learning experiences for higher education. The third is for religious leaders who work or serve in a parish education setting.

Empathetic Design for Mission-Minded Innovation
Format: One 45-60 minute session (webinar or in-person)
Lab: Human-Centered Learning Environment Lab
Please complete this form to inquire about scheduling for your group.

Description: Mission-minded innovation is innovation in service to a greater vision or mission. It is the mission that compels us to create, innovate, and sometimes move beyond the familiar and comfortable. We are both joyfully constrained and unleashed by the mission. Yet, the creative process can be conceived in vice and virtue, just as it can give birth to both vice and virtue. Many organizational approaches to creation and innovation are shaped by hidden and visible vices an virtues. Empathetic deign is an approach to creation and problem solving that is rooted in certain character traits and convictions:

The curiosity to seek genuine understanding from those most impacted by the problem…and from their perspective.

The humility to bracket our assumptions about the problem and the solution.

The playfulness to explore and invite others into exploring a myriad of possible solutions, recognizing that these can and do come from many, varied, and sometimes wonderfully surprising places.

A willingness to put the interest of others before our own, allowing ourselves to consider solutions and possibilities that might be unfamiliar, uncomfortable, or call upon us to change something about ourselves.

The openness to genuinely listen to and learn from others, especially those people most closely connected to and impacted by the problem or possibility.

The willingness to learn from the “least among us.”

The desire to celebrate the process of co-creation.

The commitment to test and experiment as an expression of humility, in contrast to a spirit of hubris that sometimes compels us to launch efforts and initiatives largely upon the basis of our own “expert judgment” or as a result of our title or position.

A posture of continued curiosity and humility as we learn from experiments and choose where to go next.

This is one of many approaches and possibilities, but this presentation offers empathetic design as a way of thinking about the creative process that celebrates values like curiosity, humility, co-creation, playfulness, genuine interest in and care for others, and a different posture toward the role of position and power.

Target Audience: Leaders and influencers in any organization seeking to embrace mission-minded innovation.

Books & Publications

The Education Innovator’s Guide to Mission-Minded Moonshots (formerly published as Missional Moonshots: Insight & Inspiration in Educational Innovation)
Website / How to Order: Amazon ebook / contact for bulk order options
Price: $0.99 or free with Kindle Unlimited
Lab:None

Breathe: A Vision and Framework for Human-Centered Learning Environments
Website / How to Order: Amazon ebook / contact for bulk order options
Price: $2.99 or free with Kindle Unlimited
Lab:The Human-Centered Learning Environment Lab

Learning Beyond Letter Grades: Promising Practices in Grading, Feedback, and Assessment
Website / How to Order: Expected release in 2020 through Rowman & Littlefield Publishing
Price: TBD
Lab: The Beyond Letter Grades Research Lab

12 Quests: Life Experiments to Expand Your Heart and Mind
Website / How to Order: Amazon
Price: $4.99 for Kindle Version (or free with Kindle Unlimited) / $9.99 for Paperback
Lab: The Life Experiment Lab


Other Media

The What is in the Air Podcast (25 30-minute episodes, each exploring the promise and possibility of a positive psychology intervention / life experiment).
Website / How to Order: www.whatisintheair.com (also available on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and PodBean)
Price: Free
Lab: The Life Experiment Lab