TEL Library
Educational Content and Custom Curriculum
Oklahoma City, Ok, 73170

The TEL Library Learning Environment Model


At TEL Library, we use a common learning-progression model in each of our lessons and reinforce that same model throughout our lesson sections. 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 TEL Library Learning Environment Model

Our learning environment model contains a core progression sequence that moves from:

Contextualization to Elaboration to Relevance to Agency to Mastery.

Contextualization: It is important for learners to have a context for information before it is transmitted. This helps them answer the “Why?” question. Why is this information important and relevant? Having this context gives learners a useful framework for receiving and absorbing information details.

Elaboration: The elaboration stage of our model answers the “What” question. “What is the information or what are the specific concepts learners need to understand so that they can begin applying them on their own?” Ideally, the elaboration stage couples information with a broad range of perspectives, both from expert sources as well as via community conversation.

Relevance: Most learners find it difficult to transform information into applied knowledge without some motivation. Making information relevant in term of the learner’s world or personal life will help him or her internalize and apply the information in a way that can lead to mastery.

Agency: Once a learner understands a concept and can grasp why it is important, he or she can begin taking personal ownership of that concept. This means applying the information in ways that are personally relevant.

Mastery: In this last stage of the learning environment model, the goal is to provide learners an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned. Such evidence of mastery may take the form of a summative assessment or a more complex knowledge-synthesis activity.

Our goal is to follow and reinforce this learning progression in each of our TEL Library lessons. We begin each lesson with material that contextualizes students and prepares them for the material being presented. In other words, we give learners information “pegs” on which they can hang information details before presenting a lesson concept formally. Throughout the learning process, our goal is to provide a context for information, present and elaborate the information, and then help learners identify with the information personally. This enables them to apply the information in a meaningful way and to move toward mastery.

Applying the Model to TEL Library Stackable LessonsTM


To optimize the learning experience, we use the same learning environment in each of our lesson pages. The diagram illustrates how the model is applied.


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Contextualization begins with the way we present our lesson pages and the content they contain. We want to orient learners by signaling where they are in the lesson (or course, or mediabook), how far they have progressed, and how they can navigate. We also provide up-front information to help them manage their time. The default presentation of the lesson page shows the Overview text but keeps other page sections collapsed. This gives learners a quick, visual sense of the lesson content and progression.The opening Inquire section takes the form of a brief overview and reflection, which allow students to create their own individual contexts for the information we’re sharing with them in the lesson.


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Having provided an initial contextualization, we can now begin presenting or elaborating the core information related to the lesson concept. We begin this phase with an overview “bridge,” in which we use a short video to provide a high-level view of the lesson information. TOur videos are designed to provide contextualization while, at the same time, providing a succinct introduction to core lesson information. Our videos contain robust text signaling, as well as downloadable transcripts, to ensure study efficiency. We also work to scaffold in our Big Question for the lesson.


We continue the elaboration phase with a textual reading, which provides explanations of individual concept components, as well as definitions for all key terms.


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Having contextualized learners and then presented core information that aligns within that context, we now shift to helping the learner think about lesson information in a way that has personal significance. This emphasis on relevance begins with our Reflect section, in which we present a low-stake poll that ties back to the Big Question. Our goal here is to move the learner to share a personal opinion or feeling about the lesson information.


This process continues in our Expand section. This section provides an expanded explanation of core lesson ideas and shifts the discussion toward personal application.


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Agency: Once learners have begun to see the personal applicability of our information, we encourage them to take ownership and apply it to their personal situation. We accomplish this through our Explore section, in which learners are invited to explore the lesson concept beyond the boundaries of the lesson and begin creating a personal context for it.


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The final step in each lesson page is to help students demonstrate their understanding of lesson information. In this step, we use the Discuss section to encourage learners to provide evidence of understanding within their learning community. We also provide a “Check My Progress” feature to allow learners to self-check their retention of key definitions and explanations.


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Our goal, with each EdBooks lesson, 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 learning progression in each product lesson.