About APass Education

A Pass Educational Group, LLC is an organization dedicated to the development of quality educational resources. We work with organizations of all sizes and types, developing assessment questions, lesson plans, curricula, and eCourses. Started by Andrew Pass in 2009, the company now employs more than 1,400 experts in multiple disciplines. Our clients include education giants such as Pearson Education, Scholastic, and Britannica.
So far APass Education has created 292 blog entries.
15 11, 2017

Benefits of Micro-Credentialing in Higher Education

By | 2017-12-04T19:39:39+00:00 November 15th, 2017|education, micro-credentialing|0 Comments

For years, institutions of higher learning have been diversifying their course offerings to appeal to more students. Not only are they offering a wider range of subjects in traditional study areas, they are capitalizing on technology to mix and match face-to-face and online learning for degree work. Not surprisingly, ambitious colleges are also turning their attention to a somewhat underserved market: people who need continuing education but cannot afford the cost or time commitment of regular college courses. More mainstream colleges are following the lead of professional organizations, technical institutes, and community colleges, and are adding micro-credentialing opportunities to their academic offerings. What Exactly is Micro-Credentialing? People without the time, money, or inclination to be full-time students can enroll in short,     relatively cheap online courses designed to impart knowledge in a limited subject area related to a career skill, such as coding. For the effort, the student earns a digital badge testifying to competence in that area. By stringing together a series of badges, the student can qualify for a certificate in a wider subject—say, [...]

8 11, 2017

5 Strategies for Giving Learners a V.O.I.C.E. in Competency-Based Educational Programs

By | 2017-11-29T20:13:42+00:00 November 8th, 2017|Competency Based Education|0 Comments

I recently asked a friend of mine, Elizabeth, a student enrolled in a competency-based program, why she chose that program instead of a traditional program. Without hesitation, she said, “The ability to learn on my own terms and to make the process work for me.” Elizabeth selected the program because its freedom and flexibility allowed her to juggle school and work. What she described is what we call student-centered learning. As described in this document jointly prepared by Jobs for the Future and the Council of Chief State School Officers, there are four characteristics of student-centered learning: 1. Learning activities allow learners to personalize the learning experience to meet their needs. 2. Learners demonstrate competency as a measure of learning. 3. Learners can choose when and where they learn. 4. Learning activities and course structure allow learners to take responsibility for their learning. During Competency Based Education (CBE) course development, course designers make many decisions about the content and delivery of the learning experience. To help students thrive in a CBE course, designers can give learners [...]

2 11, 2017

3 Tips for Writing Terrific Alt Text Descriptions

By | 2017-11-02T17:11:21+00:00 November 2nd, 2017|Alternative Text|0 Comments

Alt text, or alternative text, is one of the critical components of good content design. For those newer to the topic, alt text sometimes is referred to as alt attributes, alt descriptions, or alt tags. Great instructional designers, course developers, and content writers keep the audience in mind as they develop content- and that includes associated images! Why is alt text important? Screen Readers Individuals relying on screen readers will use the alt attribute so they can interpret visual information as well as text. A lot of thought goes into the decision to use particular images- and that effort should continue over onto the alt text design to convey meaning effectively. Imagine reading a course question about a map showing a geographic location. Without a well-written alt text description the user is left wondering and unable to access all of the course content. Unloaded Image Files If an image file cannot be loaded the user is also left to wonder what information and context might have been provided by the broken image link. Indexing Alt text [...]

17 10, 2017

Learning by Doing: 5 Strategies to Increase Learner Engagement in Competency-Based Education

By | 2017-11-29T20:16:32+00:00 October 17th, 2017|Competency Based Education, Students|0 Comments

Most students who enroll in a competency-based education (CBE) program start out excited, motivated, and ready to learn. For too many students, that enthusiasm starts to wane a few weeks into the course. This is bad news for students and the enrolling institution. “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Lack of engagement is a serious issue. Disengaged, discouraged students are more likely to drop out than their enthusiastic and engaged peers. Students may drop out of a CBE program for several reasons, including the actual learning experience. Students may become discouraged and quit if learning materials are too difficult to understand or poorly presented. Students may become disinterested and quit if learning activities are dull or uninspiring. Students may become frustrated and quit if they believe they’re wasting time on material they already know or view as irrelevant. While students may become disengaged for reasons that are beyond the control of the educational institution, course designers can strive to create engaging courses that discourage student drop out. An engaging CBE learning experience [...]

12 10, 2017

Supporting Students During Weather Disasters

By | 2017-12-05T21:51:44+00:00 October 12th, 2017|Supporting Students|6 Comments

Severe weather events can be physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially devastating for families. As we’ve seen from recent weather events, storms can cause property damage, food and water scarcity, and, unfortunately, injuries and loss of life. Children may struggle to understand how to cope with the loss and destruction resulting from weather events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, thunderstorms, floods, and blizzards. To supplement what students are learning at home about severe weather, educators should be ready to teach students about different types of weather disasters, where they occur, and how to prepare for them. Download Our Hurricane Lesson Plan, Mapped to NGSS Standards 1. Types of Weather Disasters Educators should be prepared to teach students about different types of weather disasters, especially the events that take place most frequently where they live. In teaching the different types, it is important for educators to focus on: What the weather event is and how it is formed What terms are associated with each weather event Where the weather event occurs When the weather event tends [...]

10 10, 2017

4 Critical Questions to Ask Your Instructional Designers

By | 2018-05-21T21:35:52+00:00 October 10th, 2017|course design, Instructional Design|0 Comments

Have you worked with an instructional designer before? An instructional designer (ID) creates learning outcomes and builds activities that help learners master those outcomes in engaging ways.   Schools, districts, and organizations can use instructional designers to create contemporary, learner-focused professional development courses for their staff. But, before you choose your instructional designer, find one who fits your needs by asking candidates these four questions: 1. Are you familiar with the standards to which our teachers align? You don’t want an instructional designer navigating your curricular standards for the first time. Ask your candidates to provide you with a sample of a course or unit designed using the CTE, Common Core, NCSS, or other curricular standards you use. 2. How might you take the diverse needs of learners into account in your instructional design? A strong ID creates learning activities that engage all types of learners. When reviewing your candidates’ samples, choose the ID who offers learning activities designed for multiple intelligences and different learning styles. 3. With which learner management systems (LMS) are you familiar? [...]

2 10, 2017

Maximizing Relationships with Subject Matter Experts

By | 2017-10-10T22:06:38+00:00 October 2nd, 2017|Resource, Standards, subject matter expert|0 Comments

Educators want authentic experiences for professional development. Some of our recent blog posts include best practices for planning training that incorporates real world modeling situations. Are you planning professional development and wondering how to make connections and build relationships with experts and practitioners in the field? Here are three tips for successful partnerships with subject matter experts, also known as SMEs. 1) A Brief Time Commitment When you contact potential experts make sure to offer a brief time commitment of an hour or two working with staff. From this initial commitment many SMEs develop an interest in working with the school and will continue the partnership. 2) Meaningful Work It’s easy to fall into the lecture role when you’re an expert. Instead of scheduling a speaking engagement, gather a small group of educators to meet with a SME to evaluate teaching materials. Some workshop ideas might include: ● Shared analysis of a lesson plan or teaching unit ● Modeling field-based experiences to replicate in the classroom ● Developing real-world scenarios for learning activities 3) Use Technology [...]

26 09, 2017

Benefits of Customizing Professional Development

By | 2017-09-26T17:46:05+00:00 September 26th, 2017|educators, lesson plan, lesson planning, Objectives, outcomes, Professional Development|0 Comments

Teachers aim to make instruction more learner centered, so why aren’t we doing the same for educators when planning professional development? What’s the most valuable quality of PD according to most teachers? Personalization. Personalized professional development lets teachers focus on their individual students and classrooms as new challenges arise and new resources become available. Some notable benefits include: ● Specialized training matches the level of individualization offered in other fields. ● Individualized surveys and needs assessments can provide more specific information on a case-by-case basis and meet immediate needs. ● Teacher can focus on building on their own strengths and weaknesses. The benefits of personalized professional development are clear. But how can you implement a customized program in your district? Examples of Customized PD Individual Learning Plans Montpelier School District lets teachers create Individual Professional Development Plans (IPDPs) that help them meet unique personal and district-wide development goals that follow the SMART model: ● Specific ● Measurable ● Attainable ● Relevant ● Time-bound Gamification Games with levels and goals, like this one at Bettendorf Community School [...]