Learning Lab has an annual budget of $8 million, which comes from State general funds. Funding is distributed through competitive grants and supports activities that enhance teaching and learning.
This will vary according to the terms of the specific Request for Proposals. Generally, individuals who have a permanent faculty appointment at a California community college, a California State University campus, or a University of California campus, AND can demonstrate institutional support for their projects may apply as a co-principal investigator if the call for proposals includes their discipline. Individuals who are not from the UC, CSU, or California Community Colleges may still be part of the faculty team that applies for a Learning Lab grant, just not as a co-principal investigator.
STEM refers to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. While not all education researchers or education agencies classify STEM disciplines in the same way, we generally follow the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE). Learning Lab generally identifies the following as STEM fields: mathematics, the physical sciences, biological and life sciences, engineering and engineering technologies, and computer and information sciences.
Equity Gap refers to racial and gender disparities in educational access and attainment for historically underrepresented and underserved student populations that are the product of persistent social and institutional barriers to educational opportunities and educational success (Lumina Foundation and USC Center for Urban Education). From the perspective of the Learning Lab, we can understand equity gaps, in part, as the achievement gaps that opportunity gaps created. Our preferred term is to use equity gap, rather than achievement gap, in order to keep the focus on the multiple barriers to educational success, rather than on student performance alone.
Adaptive learning is defined by statute to mean “a technology mediated environment in which the learner’s experience is adapted to learner behavior and responses.” In order to have the potential for large-scale impact, Learning Lab understands adaptive learning technologies in the broad sense of deploying technology to better understand learner experience/learner gaps and assets, and to modify learning environments, pedagogical approaches and/or available resources to produce better learning outcomes across the broad range of students.
Host Institution refers to the college or university that will act as grantee and fiscal intermediary for purposes of grant administration. The host institution will enter into a grant agreement with the Foundation for California Community Colleges for receipt and management of grant funds and will distribute funds to the
partner institutions based on sub- award agreements. The designation of an institution as “host” is for grant administration purposes only. Learning Lab expects awarded projects to exhibit meaningful, well-balanced collaboration among partner institutions, i.e., all the institutions involved in the project.
Online/Hybrid Learning Environments. Learning Lab also takes a broad view of what qualifies as an online or hybrid course. Online courses allow students to interact, either synchronously or asynchronously, with the course material/lecture/lab work, and other participants and/or instructors/TAs in a technology-mediated, remote environment. Hybrid courses or blended courses are those that use both “online” and in-person interactions as part of the formal course environment or requirements. Hybrid courses allow some component of the course to be available or accessible in an online environment. For the purposes of this RFP, a course does not have to be officially designated by the institution or department as “hybrid” to be eligible for Learning Lab grant funding, so long as it conforms to the definition above.
Science of human learning, also referred to as learning science, is the study of how human learning takes place. Interdisciplinary in nature, drawing from fields such as cognitive science, neuroscience, computer science, education, psychology, sociology, design studies and more, the science of learning strives to understand how people learn, how to support learning, how to facilitate and enhance learning, discipline-based learning, and the role of technology in enhancing learning and collaboration. The science of learning addresses how people process, gather, and interpret information; how they develop knowledge, skills, and expertise; and the extent to which social and physical context and design environments influence learning. Scaffolding, inquiry or problem-based learning, collaborative learning, game and simulation-based learning, and metacognition are all examples of how teaching methods and approaches to curriculum can be influenced by what we understand about learning. Additionally, strategies linked to social psychology and multicultural education emphasize the importance of attending to students’ identity and culture when addressing equity gaps—we view such equity gaps as invitations to apply the science of learning in new or improved ways.
Learning Lab calculates the 8 percent IDC rate based on combined project direct costs and does not permit layering of IDC in excess of 8 percent of total direct costs. Combined direct and indirect costs cannot exceed the award amount. Consequently, for a project awarded a $1 million grant, total combined IDC for all partner institutions cannot exceed $74,074 (i.e., 8 percent of total direct costs of $925,926, with combined indirect and direct costs totaling $1 million). Partner institutions may, however, divide their respective shares of IDC, as long as they conform to the Learning Lab’s overall limit on IDC (i.e., no more than 8 percent of total direct costs). For instance, the host institution may apply 8 percent IDC to a portion of a sub-award, but the sub-awardee cannot then apply IDC to that same portion of the sub-award, since that would lead to total IDC in excess of 8 percent of total project direct costs.
Grantees of a Learning Lab award may not charge more than 8% in Indirect Costs (IDC).