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Video podcast: How to promote growth, belonging + agency for learners with Miriam Swords Kalk

In this March 2024 video podcast, Education Design Lab’s Miriam Swords Kalk talks about the Learner Engagement Framework, a research-based tool that can transform the way you lead and help others thrive.


First, Miriam Swords Kalk wants to be clear: There is no perfect recipe to engage learners and make them successful.

BUT … while education design is complex, she also reminds us that we’re all designers. Whether you’re an educator, a manager, or a parent, we can all intentionally design environments where learners can thrive.

And that’s where the Learner Engagement Framework can help.

Miriam and the Lab released a paper explaining the framework in 2021, and she presented it during a solo session at SXSW EDU in 2024.

The Learner Engagement Framework is based on decades of academic research on self-determination theory (SDT). The Lab’s version distills this research in order to make it more accessible and actionable, so it’s easier to put the core principles into practice by asking: How might we design environments that promote a sense of growth, belonging, and agency?

In this March 2024 video podcast, Miriam summarizes the framework and gets a little emotional when she talks about its potential impact on higher education:

“Supporting the sense of growth, belonging, and agency is both a means to an end and an end itself. Through doing that, we know you can support learners unlocking all of these amazing outcomes they care about and many institutions care about as well. And these are also the core ingredients of well being. And isn’t supporting every individual’s well-being and self determination of their future what this work is all about and why so many of us work in education?”


Jump directly to some highlights:



Brief overview of Learner Engagement Framework

Watch the clip


Brief explainers of GrowthBelonging … and Agency


Can you share three tips for promoting growth, belonging + agency?

Watch the clip


How might this framework impact higher education over the next 10 years?

Watch the clip



Watch the full episode on YouTube:


Listen on:

Apple podcasts




Watch Miriam’s full video presentation at SXSW EDU or listen to the audio.

This video podcast was produced and hosted by Ayanna Conway. Story written by Stephanie Ogilvie Seagle.

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