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How can we help students use the knowledge and skills of English Language Arts to understand the world around them and take informed action in their communities? 

This in-depth course follows the structure of our best selling book, Learning That Transfers. It lasts 8 weeks, taking approximately one hour per week to complete.  

During this cohort model, content is released weekly so that we all stay at a similar pace, but all activities are completely asynchronous. Optional live calls for connection and Q and A included. View the course syllabus here

Some familiarity with conceptual learning and transfer is recommended before taking this course, but beginners who are eager to learn are very welcomed to join! 

Participants can choose to aim for a level 1, level 2, or level 3 badge, by completing one ore more of the following:  

  • a course overview
  • a unit plan
  • an instructional calendar
  • a lesson plan for learning that transfers. 

Course finishers receive a certificate noting 15 hours and 1.5 continuing education credits (CEU), plus a Learning That Transfers badge to use in emails, resume, etc. as well as your name listed on our website (with your permission). 

We hope you'll join us! Group discount for 4+ participants. 

Please reach out with any questions:

Participants have access to the course material for an additional three weeks after the course is complete.

Registration Opening Soon

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Next cohort starts in February 2022

Sign up here to be the first to know when the next cohort is open for registration.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome and Orientation

    • Welcome from Julie & Trevor (5:24)

    • Course Orientation (4:50)

    • Important Participant Survey

    • Participant Introductions

    • Course Syllabus

  • 2

    Intro to Conceptual Learning and Transfer

    • Module One Introduction (1:21)

    • Complex World Video (1:33)

    • How Learning Transfer Works (5:22)

    • Mid-Module Reflection

    • The ACT Model (4:38)

    • Acquire and Connect Student Experience (2:22)

    • Transfer and Student Action Student Experience (2:08)

    • Envisioning Possibilities (5:10)

    • Module 1 Reflection

    • Module 1 Portfolio Checklist

  • 3

    Shifts in Practice

    • Module Two Introduction (1:31)

    • Adapting to Changing Times (4:47)

    • The Role of Student and Teacher (3:59)

    • Teacher-Directed vs. Student-Directed Game

    • Impact of Technology on Curriculum (5:10)

    • The Role of Curriculum and Instruction (3:37)

    • Strategies for Deeper Learning (2:13)

    • The Role of Assessments (5:09)

    • Mid-Module Reflection

    • The Unit Storyboard (2:42)

    • Module 2 Reflection

    • Module 2 Portfolio Checklist

  • 4

    Disciplinary Literacy

    • Module Three Introduction (3:37)

    • Video & Discussion: Disciplinary Literacy in ELA (3:57)

    • Using Concepts to Frame Disciplinary Learning (6:45)

    • The Purpose and Role of English Language Arts (4:08)

    • Mid-Module Reflection

    • Student-Centered Disciplinary Literacy (2:32)

    • Selecting Disciplinary Lenses (2:12)

    • Vertical Alignment (2:58)

    • Module 3 Reflection

    • Module 3 Portfolio Checklist

  • 5

    Modern Literacies

    • Module Four Introduction (1:53)

    • New Literacies: Video and Discussion (7:08)

    • Real-World Challenges (1:26)

    • Mid-Module Reflection

    • Narrowing Our Focus (4:57)

    • From Disciplinary Literacy to Modern Literacies (6:57)

    • Horizontal Alignment (5:46)

    • End of Module Reflection

    • Module 4 Portfolio Checklist

  • 6

    Story of Your Course & Unit Planning

    • Module Five Introduction (2:36)

    • Video and Discussion (6:31)

    • Critical Steps for Arranging Content (5:08)

    • Mid-Module Reflection

    • Crafting the Story of Your Course (4:30)

    • Selecting Anchoring and Subconcepts (6:15)

    • Drafting Conceptual & Compelling Questions (3:43)

    • Module 5 Reflection

    • Module 5 Portfolio Checklist

  • 7

    Unit Planning Continued

    • Module Six Introduction (1:15)

    • Video and Discussion

    • Similar to Dissimilar Transfer (5:15)

    • The ACT Storyboard (1:51)

    • Student Voice and Choice (4:58)

    • Module 6 Mid-Module Reflection

    • Student Action (3:13)

    • Module 6 Reflection

    • Module 6 Portfolio Checklist

  • 8

    Assessing Transfer

    • Module Seven Introduction (2:00)

    • Pointless: Making Grading More Meaningful

    • Assessment as System of Feedback (3:56)

    • Self-Assessment

    • Module 7 Mid-Module Reflection

    • Designing Summative Transfer Tasks (3:28)

    • Value Beyond School Walls (2:05)

    • Drafting a Formative Assessment Plan (5:28)

    • Module 7 Reflection

    • Module 7 Portfolio Checklist

  • 9

    Lesson Planning

    • Module Eight Introduction (1:46)

    • Relevance Video and Discussion (3:17)

    • Promoting Intellectual Growth (5:11)

    • Instructional Calendars (2:21)

    • Acquiring and Connecting Concepts (6:30)

    • Transferring Concepts to New Situations (2:37)

    • Mid-Module Reflection

    • Designing a Lesson Plan (2:35)

    • Module 8 Reflection

    • Module 8 Portfolio Checklist

    • Submit Your Portfolio

    • Course Feedback

What people are saying:

Christine Haslett

Head of Primary, Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi

“By transferring concepts back into real life, real time examples, our children are making sense of the world that they are part of, and thinking critically about the behaviour of leaders.”

Diane Cartier

Vice Principal, Medicine Hat Public Schools

“This learning opportunity deepened my understanding of conceptual teaching--from planning and delivery, to assessment and reflection--the modules were accessible and easily applied as I navigated this work with one of our teachers. Julie and Kayla are exceptional leaders in the way they deliver learning and provide support every step of the way!”

Richard Healy

Head of Secondary, British School Manila

“I have never seen a professional learning program have such a great impact on faculty. And it is the best value I’ve encountered in at least a decade.”


Trevor Aleo

Trevor Aleo is an English teacher in Connecticut. In addition to leading grade level teams at his own school, he’s drafted curriculum at the district level, created instructional resources for the Virginia Department of Education, and presented at local, state, and regional conferences. He believes education should help people become better meaning makers, problem solvers, and story tellers and is dedicated to facilitating learning experiences where that can happen. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Master of Arts in Teaching, and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Learning Design and Leadership.

Julie Stern

Julie Stern is passionate about synthesizing the best of education research into practical tools that support educators in breaking free of the industrial model of schooling and moving toward teaching and learning that promotes sustainability, equity, and well-being. She is the best-selling author of Learning that Transfers, Visible Learning for Social Studies, and Tools for Teaching Conceptual Understanding, Elementary and Secondary. She is the thought leader behind the global workshop series Making Sense of Learning Transfer and is a certified trainer in Visible Learning Plus. She is a James Madison Constitutional Fellow and taught social studies for many years in Washington, DC and her native Louisiana. Julie moves internationally every few years with her husband, a US diplomat, and her two young sons.

Learning Intentions and Success Criteria

Design learning experiences that use the knowledge and skills of English language arts to help our students make sense of the world and respond to its complex problems.

  • Explain why education needs to evolve and articulate how the ACT model helps students become adaptable.

  • Build a disciplinary vision for ELA that fosters disciplinary literacy.

  • Select Modern Literacies that prepare students to navigate a complex and changing world.

  • Write a story of the course that articulates the disciplinary vision and modern literacies that students will harness to transfer learning.

  • Draft unit plans that foster deep thinking and transfer of learning.

  • Design a summative assessment and a formative assessment plan for learning that transfers.

  • Create an instructional calendar that harnesses the ACT model to move students toward conceptual organization that transfers.

  • Create a lesson plan that helps students become more conscious of their learning and transfer their learning to new situations.


experienced educators who support participants' learning

Saqib Mehrban

Saqib Mehrban is currently an English Teacher at British International School Riyadh. He is also a pastoral leader (Head of Year) and is passionate about the well-being of students, as well as enhancing a critical perspective in them.

Shana Sabourin

Shana teaches preAP English to sophomores and American Literature to juniors in Prince William County in Virginia. Fundamentally, her passion as an educator comes from helping to facilitate students to see how everything we read and experience lays the groundwork to be more aware of, and, therefore present in, the world around us by establishing connections that allow us to develop a deeper understanding of that world.

Angela Johnson

Angela Johnson is MYP Coordinator and teacher of English Language & Literature at Southbank International School in London. She is passionate about the role of ELA in the wider world, and of the potential to develop interdisciplinary understandings that extend beyond the boundaries of the traditional subject classroom.


Samantha Kitson-Evans

Sam Kitson-Evans (she/her) is currently the Deputy Head of English at Newton College, Lima. As an MYP teacher and IB subject head, she has had first-hand experience of the power of conceptual learning to deliver meaningful and engaging content that students can apply beyond both the classroom, and into their futures.