Introducing the Teaching and Learning Lab

By: Bill Wisser

The Teaching and Learning Lab (TLL) is a design and development organization committed to supporting faculty and advancing strategic initiatives related to teaching and learning at the Harvard Graduate School of Education through a commitment to efficient processes, reusability, scalability, and rigor.

TLL Logo

We are strategic.

The TLL was formed in response to a need at HGSE for an organization to help bring the strategic teaching and learning initiatives of the School to fruition. The TLL consolidates teaching and learning support at HGSE in one organization charged with advancing decanal initiatives. Our portfolio is guided by a faculty advisory board that reviews quarterly reports and assists with resource allocation to ensure that we stay true to our mission: to increase the impact and reach of HGSE faculty work inside and outside of the Harvard classroom.

We support teaching and learning.

We are a full-service design and development shop built to bring faculty ideas to life. We support teaching and learning -- wherever and whenever it happens. We partner with faculty to support classroom-based instruction by developing teaching assets such as cases, simulations, discussion protocols, and other curricular assets. We design and develop online courses offered through HGSE’s Programs in Professional Education that are aimed at non-degree professionals, executives, and educators. We also support teaching opportunities such as webinars and micro-modules that engage learners in brief conversations about discrete ideas.

We are innovative.

The TLL represents a new approach to supporting teaching and learning. The TLL is staffed with experts in pedagogy, faculty development, and course design along with media producers, learning technologists, and product development managers who collaborate on projects that range from active learning protocols and teaching cases to online courses and custom tool creation. Consultation and recommendations remain core to our work, but we go further and help develop and deliver innovative learning experiences.      

We are mission driven.

The TLL is guided by principles of reusability, scalability, efficiency, and rigor that filter through all phases of our work.

Reusability All projects undertaken by the TLL are viewed through the lens of reusability to increase the efficiency of our processes and ensure that the work we produce has the maximum impact. Since media assets are costly to produce in both time and resources, we focus on creating assets that can be leveraged beyond their original intent.

Scalability As a corollary to improving the reach and impact of assets we create, we have a strong commitment to scalability. While the originating project may be aimed at a class of dozens of students, we build assets and develop infrastructure that can support hundreds or even thousands of learners.

Efficiency We are process driven. All projects begin with a rigorous needs analysis that leads to the establishment of roles and responsibilities. We commit to deadlines and follow project management best practices to ensure projects are completed on time and within budget.

Rigor Throughout all the work we do we maintain a strong commitment to rigor. We incorporate research principles and proven best practices into our design and development models and follow industry standards related to accessibility and design. We’re committed to increasing the impact of HGSE faculty research by designing and development teaching resources that expand the classroom walls and engage new audiences.

The Teaching and Learning Lab represents a commitment by HGSE to a design and development process that supports strategic initiatives. We partner with faculty, engage with students, and collaborate with administrative officers to advance the teaching and learning mission of the School.

See also: Organization