A for Athlete


  • Application deadline is May 13, 2016.
  • Grant award range is $50,000 to $125,000.
  • This is a playlist grant with digital badges.
  • The Competition is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through a grant to the University of California, Irvine. The interdisciplinary alliance HASTAC helps to administer the competition on behalf of UCHRI.


  • /Application shows exact text and word limits for questions put forth in the online application.

Grant Insights

Office Hours Videos


DML6 - Playlists for Learning Office Hours 2 - 4-27-2016


Assemble existing connected learning content and experiences into one or more playlists that span and scale across organizations or institutions;

augment existing connected learning programming with new connected learning resources and/or experiences that must be conceived of and sequenced as playlists that span and scale across organizations or institutions;


  • What is the playlist theme and purpose?
  • How does it connect to the lives of learners?
  • Who is your learner audience? What types of experiences and resources will interest and engage them?
  • What real world problems do you want learners to engage?
  • How can you make the experience immersive by involving different collaborative partners?

Learning outcomes

Does your playlist embody connected learning principles?

  • What will the impact of your playlist be? How will it affect your learners?
  • What is a meaningful result for the learners of completing the playlist? What opportunity does successful completion unlock?

Learning sequence

  • What established connected learning experiences and resources will be leveraged in your playlist?
  • How will you meaningfully sequence them? What information will learners need before engaging in each step?
  • Does the playlist begin with engaging content that will draw the learner in?
  • What’s missing?
  • What additional resources and/or learning experiences need to be developed and/or achieved through collaboration?

Collaborative/scaling opportunities

  • What other programs can you collaborate with to increase playlist impact and audience?
  • Do other resources and experiences already exist that could help you complete the playlist?
  • Are there collaborative opportunities that could be leveraged to strengthen your playlist?
  • How can you extend the reach of your playlist to engage a broader or more diverse youth audience?

Play.CLOH.org and the span, sequence and scale across organizations and institutions with swimming's roots.

Scouting organizations get duly deserved credit their use of and development of merit badges. For generations, the swimming community has had fun, credentially reward systems too. Patches, chevrons, pins, tags, cards, sticker books, letters, ribbons, medals, trophies, record boards, time standards and dozens of other motivational gadgets have been used with swim teams. USA Swimming , the national governing body for competitive swimming in tthe USA, has resources, experiences and opportunities that can offer programming synergy to efforts with Play.CLOH.org and LRNG.

One of the avenues for obtaining funding with the DML Competition is to “augment existing connected learning programming with new connected learning resources and/or experiences that must be conceived of and sequenced as playlists that span and scale across organizations or institutions.”

The Play.CLOH.org's proposal includes a bridge from an existing program that has been operational for the past five years. USA Swimming of Colorado Springs started its DeckPass program in 2011. Developed and maintained in-house, DeckPass has awarded around 35 million patches since it opened.

The USA Swimming patches are similar to XPs and Digital Badges in that they are bestowed to individuals based upon merit and achievements. The graphic patches form collections for individuals who have set-up free accounts with usernames, passwords. Of the USA Swimming's 400,000 athletes, about 300,000 have DeckPass accounts. Non-members can play along too. Individuals can issue friend requests for messaging and revealing their collections to others to witness. A majority of the patches are granted on Mondays following the weekend swim meets and come automatically basued upon a rules-based system that interacts with the national swims database. Some patches have come based upon holidays, geography, meet standards and coaches creations. USA Swimming Coaches (30,000) can design and issue custom patches to connect with the swimmers: Practice Beast, Performer of the Day, Kicking Winner, etc. Some patches are geared for swimmers in certain ages and provide appropriate insights on the Safe Sports, US Anti-Doping, Nutrition, Anti-Bulling. Rewards can be tied to patches. One cool feature of DeckPass is its QR Code Reader that could patch a kid attending and reading the USA Olympic Trials meet program.

The program is growing by 20% a year and is especially valued by Moms OnDeck. Its purpose was to keep kids motivated, striving, and involved in the sport of swimming. The “cartooning” of the patches are not as well received with older kids so different tools are being deployed that help the more mature kids swim faster. The patches are less abstract in offering a cool reward but are getting more technical and show specific interests in how to better perform. Data analysis happens and the patches can unlock a video series to keep one motivated.

Play.CLOH.org can build a bridge of connected learning assets that spans between the USA Swimming Deck Pass and LRNG.

A letter of support for Play.CLOH.org has come from USA Swimming Coach, David Scraven , Head Coach of Upper St. Clair Swim Club and High School in suburban Pittsburgh. Scraven, a former Standford swimmer, coaches one of the best teams in the region. Other partners in the Play.CLOH.org network have swim pools and teams, including the JCC Sailfish (USA Swimming Club), Thelma Lovette YMCA, Sarah Heinz House, Pittsburgh Public Schools (14 pools, 8 varsity teams, 20+ teams in elementary and middle school grades) and Hosanna House.

TeamUnify , another within the sport of swimming that support the Play.CLOH.org proposal, can fill a tremendous role in capitalizing the opportunities for connected learning among the LRNG efforts and the patches of USA Swimming. TeamUnify has a times database too. TeamUnify's app, OnDeck, fills other needs for parents/guardians, swim coaches and teams.

The short-term plans being discussed, should the DML Competition arrive, is to deploy the aquatic-related playlists by advancing Play.CLOH.org network efforts to international (UK, AUS, NZ, RSA) and the USA college-club markets. Building relationships with those sizable populations would avoid duplication of efforts and needless competitive wranglings with USA Swimming.

Another strategy for advancing connected learning opportunities in aquatics with Play.CLOH.org is to develop content for older individuals, ages 16 to 24, and then reposition these XPs and pathways within the USA Swimming DeckPass framework. What goes into LRNG can also be tweaked and plugged into DeckPass. Rather than beat em, join them. Provide Play.CLOH.org's XPs to USA Swimming. The older kids who out-grow the cartoon-like patches of USA Swimming's DeckPass might appreciate the career, technology, personal development and cross-training within Play.CLOH.org. The user-base at USA Swimming could be encouraged to migrate to LRNG with the help of the playlists and pathways of Play.CLOH.org.

Aquatics, deep water swimming, pre-lifeguard tests, water safety, lifeguard training, SKWIM, water polo, open-water swimming, one-mile swims, sports first aid, swim instructor volunteering, wellness exercises and the Olympic sports are central to the CLOH.org network and experiences. Many of the competitive swimmers in the age group ranks might appreciate on-going structure and badges after ending their competitive swim team seasons. This makes a sequence to playlists at Play.CLOH.org from an existing connected learning program. The span goes from USA Swimming (National Governing Body) to TeamUnify (swim business that manages big data for teams in the cloud) to LRNG with playlists, pathways, XPs and badges from Play.CLOH.org.

Connected learning principles

  • Does the complete playlist effectively embody connected learning principles?
  • Does it achieve its intended serious learning outcomes?
  • Does it invite users to follow their passions?
  • Does your playlist open up further connected learning opportunities?

Digital badges

  • What are the learning outcomes from the playlist or its experiences for which you want to offer a badge?
  • What competencies, knowledge, skills, or attributes are being recognized?
  • What is the required proof that must be submitted in order to earn a badge?
  • What type of evaluation does the badge represent and how will it be assessed (i.e. self, peer, educator, expert, or system)
  • What comes next for learners earning this badge?
  • What career or education opportunities might this badge unlock for the learner?