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Defined Learning

Empowering Students to Build Future-Ready Skills Through Career-Connected Learning

Defined Learning is an award-winning online platform that helps teachers implement high-quality project-based learning (PBL) with ease. We provide the essential project design elements including standards-based performance tasks, research resources, editable rubrics and more.

Our engaging hands-on projects are based on careers to provide deeper understanding of concepts and application of knowledge. Our platform serves as a repository of critical challenges and real-world problems for students to solve. We excite students about their futures and empower them to build the critical skills they need to succeed in college, careers, and life. 

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Our Evidence-Based Framework

Defined Learning’s performance tasks are built utilizing the evidence-based Understanding by Design Framework® (UbD), created by nationally recognized educators Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins. UbD seeks to reimagine education for stronger student engagement through two key ideas:

  1. Focus on understanding and retaining knowledge rather than memorization. 
  2. Designing curriculum “backward” from the idea of understanding to then developing a teaching format. 

Dive into the UBD process and discover how it can redefine your curriculum without rewriting it.






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Engaging Career-Connected Projects

Defined Learning provides K-12 career-connected learning opportunities for every student. Our tasks contain standards-aligned academic programming across all grade levels and subject areas, including Literacy, Math, Science, Social Studies, Music, Arts Integration, Computer Science, Financial Literacy, and more. Each hands-on project starts off with an engaging real-world video that shows students the practical application of educational concepts within a company. Students are then asked to complete a performance task and apply their knowledge and skills to a real-world situation. Take a look! 

Backpack Designer
2-3 Math

Backpack Designer

In this task, students will explore how math and engineering play a significant role in product design. They will be measuring to ¼ inch and determining areas to help design and manufacture a backpack for a specific audience.

Wildlife Biologist
3-5 Life Science

Wildlife Biologist: Bats

As a wildlife biologist who specializes in the study of bats, you understand the important role they play in the environment. You also know what a bad reputation they can have with the general public. You must get the public excited about having bats in the neighborhood!

Food Truck
Grade 6 Math

Food Truck Entrepreneur

Students will create an equation and determine fuel expenses to create a fuel expense chart and will create an equation and inequality to determine profit and income for a monthly budget.

App Developer
MS Life Science

App Developer: Athletics and Body Systems

This task is focused on helping students understand how the body is composed of different interacting subsystems within one system.  

Aircraft Designer
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MS/HS Algebra 1

Aircraft Designer

Students determine the rate in relation to airplane flight data collection, graph 3 linear functions based on their data collection, and then write each in slope-intercept form.

Forensic Entomologist
HS Biology

Forensic Entomologist

The Forensic Entomologist task provides students with the opportunity to understand complex interactions in an ecosystem and how different types of organisms interact depending on the conditions. 

Defined Learning Insights

Take a look into our project-based, standards-aligned platform to see how Defined Learning can support your school or district's goals.

Welcome DL


On our Defined Learning platform, educators can easily search our library of projects by standards, specific topics, or core curriculum areas including ELA, math, science, and social studies.



Once a subject is selected, educators can see the available library broken up by grade band. This allows teachers to find courses for students and differentiate instruction when assigning.



When instructors select a grade band, there are a few helpful resources located in the course introduction. The course playbook and task plan are tools for instructors containing information about the topics taught in the course and projects, skills, estimated grouping, timing, and more. A book catalog is provided for elementary courses, aligning commonly used books with projects.



Within each course, there is a clickable unit outline on the righthand side so educators can select projects based on specific areas of focus or standards. Each unit contains multiple projects to choose from, with the titles of the projects aligning with the careers students are embarking on.



All of our projects contain an interactive slideshow where the majority of the project is housed. The videos within the slideshow contain English and Spanish subtitles.



Below the slideshow, there are tabs with helpful resources for the facilitator. Our projects contain a brief overview, description, and the ability to assign projects directly to students through your learning management system. We pair up with Google, Clever, and Classlink.





The first step in our projects is the introduction video. This video is 30 to 40 seconds long and walks students through the role of the career professional the course is about.



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Next, we provide students with a real-world connections video showing students how they would apply what they are learning in an actual career.



After the video, students pause for some check-in questions. These questions are pre-made, however, teachers can customize these questions and more using the "Customize Project" button. Educators can add a question, remove a question, add a slide, etc.



All of our projects follow the GRASP model from the Understanding by Design framework created by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins.



Our projects are scaffolded based on grade band. For elementary projects, there are constructed response options housed within the platform. For middle and high school projects, we provide students with research resources taking them outside of the platform.



Students have the choice between 2-4 product options for each project, providing students with autonomy to pursue their interests.

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Our design process video walks students through the processes of brainstorming, creating, editing, and revising their work.



Below the slideshow is our "Products" tab. The products within the slideshow can be found in this tab with ready-made, printable, exportable, and scorable rubrics attached. Teachers can edit these rubrics and they are further customizable to track specific skills and competencies through Defined Goals.



The "Resources" tab houses helpful resources for teachers. Links, rubrics, book suggestions, optional resources, suggested materials, and more can be found here.


Defined Learning's Impact on Student Achievement

School districts across the country are engaging students in deeper learning through Defined Learning's career-connected projects.

To learn how Defined Learning has made a positive impact on student outcomes across the country in this case study.



Additional Features & Resources

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Teacher Planning Guide

Our planning guide is a resource to help teachers implement a course. It contains resources such as background on the course, topics covered in the course, how the course is laid out, and more.


Book Catalog

Our book catalog aligns commonly used books to Defined Learning projects across grade bands to deepen understanding and allow students to dive deeper into their interests.

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Measure student performance towards your portrait of a Graduate Goals

A customized implementation of the Defined ecosystem that provides enhanced data and analytics on state or district-specific goals and competencies. 

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The Practical can be Inspiring

When students can see the real-world impact of their lessons, it inspires them to seek out knowledge and follow their interests. Education should be a springboard for the future, not an obstacle to overcome. Working together, we can encourage the next generation to rediscover their love of learning.

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