Be sure to check out the Frequently Asked Questions.


Welcome to CGLearner! We have designed this website to help you design and share educational materials developed using the Learning By Design framework. This framework uses packages called Learning Elements. Learning elements are self-contained bundles that explicitly document the knowledge objectives, processes, and outcomes related to a particular unit of study, as well as other aspects such as at whom it is targetted and what subsequent directions might be taken. This is done in both the language of the teacher and learner. One can think of them as sophisticated, rigorously designed lesson plans.

The software helps guide your creation of a learning element, making it easy to put things in the right places and to check the relationships that exist between your objectives, outcomes, processes, and modes of learning. You can also collaborate with others on the development of a learning element using this website as long as both of you have an account.

Once you've created a learning element you can export it in printable form. You can also make it shareable, allowing others to search for it and use it in their own classrooms. Conversely, you can look for learning elements that others have shared that may be useful to you.


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Your Account

To use most of the features of the site you will need to <%= link_to "register", :controller => 'account', :action => 'signup' %> and then <%= link_to "login", :controller => 'account', :action => 'login' %>. On the Login page you can check to box to set a browser cookie that will log you in automatically on future visits. If you have forgotten your password then you can click on the link to reset your password. Upon entering either a login name or email address a new password will be sent to your email address. You should then be able to log in with this password and should immediately change it to your desired password by editing your account information.

By clicking on the 'Edit Account' button near the top of the page you will be taken to a screen where you may change your password and/or email address. You will need to supply your current password to do either.

Your Profile

Your profile contains information about yourself that you may want to share with the community. Some of this information will automatically be incorporated into your learning elements. You may use the 'Edit Profile' link to enter or change this information.

Your profile page also serves as the home to the list of learning elements that you have marked as 'Favorites', allowing you to collect in one place those that are of interest to you.

Creating a new Learning Element

Clicking the 'Create Learning Element' button near the top of the page will bring up a form allowing you to start a new learning element. You must enter all of the requested information. This information will be part of the learning element and will also facilitate searches. After you have entered this data you will be able to upload an image to go along with the learning element if you so desire.

General Information:

A name for the learning element
The publisher of the learning element
Age range:
Either 'Adult' or a range of ages for which the learning element is appropriate, e.g. '9-12'. We express the age in years rather than grade levels or the like to account for variations in terminology in different educational systems.

Teacher/Student Description:
Each side should be filled out in language appropriate to the audience, i.e. the teacher side for teachers to read, the student side for students to read.

The broad discipline to which the learning element belongs, e.g. mathematics, history, etc.
The specific topic addressed by the learning element, e.g. addition of fractions, World War II.
Prior Knowledge:
What students should already know before studying this learning element.
A free form text description of the learning element.

You can view this information later by using a 'Show Description' link, and edit it by using an 'Edit Description' link or the 'Description' link in the designing view.

Editing a Learning Element

This is the where you will do the main body of work when creating a learning element. When you choose to edit a learning element you will see the word 'Designing' above the learning element and many buttons above and to the left of the main part of the page. The buttons immediately above the page determine what section of the learning element you are editing; the ones on the left access both some specific things you can do with that section of the learning element and some more general actions. Therefore it makes sense to begin with the buttons at the top.

This allows you to edit the description for the learning element.

These two are quite similar. They allow you to enter, delete, and arrange objectives or assessments connected with the learning element. You will assign each to one of the four processes (experiential, conceptual, analytical, or applied). You will also enter, in both teacher and student language, a short and long description of the objective or assessment. On the right side an overiew of all objectives or assessments will appear. You can click on this list to go to an item, and you can reorder items within a process section by dragging and dropping. To change the process of an item you must select it and change the process in the drop down box then click the update button - the process cannot be changed by drag and drop at present.

Finally, the 'Assign to Activity' (on the left) and 'Overview with Activity' (above) links let you record that this particular section is addressed by certain learning activities and to get an overview of all sections with their corresponding activities so that you can check that you are addressing all of your objectives and outcomes appropriately.


This is the heart of the learning element. Here you record the sequence of activities that your class will undertake while learning the material. For each activity you select one of the eight knowledge processes and enter a short and long description in both teacher and student language for the activity. On the right there is an overview of all the activities; you may rearrange the order by dragging and dropping. You may establish links to specific objectives, assessments, and modes from the activity and view what objectives and assessments correspond to each activity. (This is the flip side of what you can do in the Objectives/Assessment section - of course you don't need to assign in both places - you can connect an activity to an objective or assessment in either view.)

On the left side there are also links for 'Purpose', 'Resources', 'Teaching Tips', 'Pre-required', and 'Reflections'. These are designed to allow activity specific comments on why the activity is included, outside things that may be helpful in teaching it, advice on teaching it, things students should know for it to be most effective, and general comments on the experience of teaching it.

There are two other buttons on the left. 'Learning Standards' allows you to record a URL and description for some mandated learning standard that the learning element is designed to address. 'Set Copyright' allows you to pick an appropriate form of copyright for the learning element and to enter any additional information needed for copyright purposes. A copyright statement will automatically be generated when the element is displayed.

Here you can enter (in both teacher and student language) what further study learners might undertake after completing this learning element.
This displays the eight modes of learning and what activities are assigned to each, allowing you to verify that you are addressing each mode appropriately with the activities in the learning element.

Viewing or Exporting a Learning Element

You can view a learning element using the 'Show' link on the left side or a 'Show Element' link in a list of learning elements. You will then be prompted to select the sections of the learning element you wish to see, whether you want to see the teacher side, the student side, or both together, and whether you want to view the learning element as a web page or to get a PDF (suitable for printing).

Listing your Learning Elements

You can see a list of learning elements that you created or are a collaborator on by clicking the 'My Learning Elements' button near the top of the page. You can see a list of learning elements that you have marked as 'Favorites' by visiting your profile page.