FAQs

Eligibility

I don’t live outside the United States. Am I eligible to compete?

Yes! The Tools Competition is eager to hear from participants from across the globe. Participants must be able to accept funds from US based entities.

I have no experience in edtech. Am I eligible to complete?

Yes! We are eager to hear and support individuals who are new to the field. We encourage you to request a smaller award to be more competitive.

I have a conflict with the interview period or the Product Review Day. Am I eligible to compete?

We encourage you to apply and make a note of your conflict. For competitive solutions, we will try our best to make accommodations to allow you to participate in the competition despite the conflict. Email Aly@the-learning-agency.com if you would like to discuss your specific circumstances.

Can I submit more than one concept in phase 1 if I can’t decide on just one idea?

Yes! Participants are welcome to submit more than one concept to phase 1 of the competition. We will review the initial concepts and work with you to move the one or two that are most competitive to the next phase of the competition.

What are the official rules for the competition?

Please refer to Official Rules. All participants must agree to these rules to enter.

I’m looking at a Catalyst prize. But I don’t know any researchers that will help me do learning engineering. Am I eligible to apply?

Teams in the Catalyst lane do not have researchers as part of their teams. But in your proposal, please emphasize how your idea could benefit researchers and support the field of learning engineering overall.

My work is outside K-12 space. Is my idea eligible to compete?

The Futures Forum on Learning is focused on helping students in K-12. But if a team has particularly strong proposal in higher education, workforce development, or another education related space, the team should submit the idea. In the proposal, outline the urgent need in the field brought about by COVID-19, the specific learning goal, and how it advances learning engineering and learning equity.

Developing successful proposals

How do I submit a solution?

Please submit an initial concept for a solution here. If you have any issues, email Aly@the-learning-agency.com.

Does my proposal need to be in English?

Yes, proposals must be in English.

How big of an award should I request?

Complete the eligibility quiz to determine how to make your solution most competitive. For general information, refer to the guidelines for award sizes

What is required for each stage of the evaluation?

For Phase I, participants should submit a concept that addresses the following points in a one-page document.

  • Summary: Describe the concept in less than 100 words.
  • Background: Describe the team in less than 100 words.
  • Goals: How will the proposal accelerate the rate of improvement of student outcomes? Please aim to address one the following problem areas.
    • Increase the number of students who are reading by 3rd grade
    • Increase the number of students on track in middle-school math
    • Expand the number of students gaining data and computer science skills in high school
    • Driving more students into college through academic and nonacademic supports.

    You are also welcome to identify another learning goal. If you select your own, please describe why it is important and how it is related to COVID-19.

  • Key factors: In the concept note, please address each the following four factors:
    • Learning Engineering : How is your project architected for rapid experimentation and data-driven continuous improvement? Could researchers use the data to better understand how students learn? Consider this as a potential example.
    • Effectiveness: : What is your evidence – or theory of impact – to explain why you think your idea will improve learning outcomes?
    • Equity : How does your proposal address the needs of marginalized student populations?
    • Scalability : How does your project scale?
  • Amount of Requested Award: Please see the guidance to determine the level of the award that is best suited for your proposal.

For Phase 2, by October 26, select participants from Phase 1 will be asked to submit a more detailed proposal that includes more information on each of the questions from Phase 1, a detailed plan to execute, a budget, and specs or an example of the tool (if applying for awards larger than $25,000).

For Phase 3, Mid-November, finalists will present to a panel of judges. The team or individual will have 5 minutes to present and 5-15 minutes to answer questions from the judges.

How will proposals be evaluated?

We will evaluate proposals for:

  • Ability to improve outcomes specific the designated learning goal
  • Use of learning engineering (use of data and instrumentation to drive rapid experimentation and continuous improvement)
  • Potential to scale
  • Attention to equity
  • Likely effectiveness
  • Team passion and readiness
  • Alignment with the requirements for the size of the awards

What proposals are not competitive?

Solutions not tied to use of data and instrumentation to improve learning technologies will likely not be competitive. For example, while laudable and important, efforts to provide devices or expand broadband access would be out of scope.

What happens after the competition?

How will winners receive their awards?

Winners will receive their award by check or bank transfer in two installments.

Winners will receive the second installment of the prize after Product Development Day if they are making sufficient progress on the plan they outline in their Phase 2: Detailed proposal.

What is Product Review Day?

During early 2021, winners will present during a virtual Product Review Day to their peers and others in the field to get feedback and perspective on their progress.

Approximately six months after Product Review Day, winners will convene again to present their progress in a Demo Day.

Webinar Recordings

On August 26th, we hosted an informational webinar where we covered the goals of the competition, reviewed criteria for successful proposals, and answered audience questions live.
If you couldn’t attend, view the recording of the conversation here.