Actively Learn is an award-winning digital curriculum that drives student engagement and equity through deeper learning. Our flexible features and comprehensive, standards-aligned resources empower teachers to deepen students’ comprehension in ELA, social studies, and science. Actively Learn is part of the Achieve3000 suite of digital education solutions.
Actively Learn was founded by Dr. Deep Sran and Jay Goyal in 2012, but the company is built on more than 15 years of work to improve the design, practice, and experience of formal education.
Deep's doctoral work in educational psychology focused on creating an academic program that would promote student’s ability to think critically and to reason about complex questions, all in a learning environment where they would be happy and motivated to learn. He evaluated how well educational software fulfilled the requirements of cognitive models and patented an electronic reading environment that would allow students to construct knowledge in ways that were impossible with traditional texts.
After completing his doctorate, Deep worked at Cesar Chavez public charter high school in Washington, D.C., as a social studies teacher, instructional designer, and department chair. At that point, his goal was to eventually open a public charter school. After two years, however, he realized he would have more academic and institutional freedom at an independent school, so he founded Ideal Schools High School in Loudoun County, Virginia. This school was designed around four principles:
Even with these ideal conditions, students did not get as much from reading as Deep and his teachers hoped. All too often, students did not complete or merely skimmed the text, so they were ill-prepared and uninspired. When students read away from teachers, or when they could not have a discussion with their peers, they simply did not engage. Deep realized teachers needed to be able to do what they were doing in class (scaffolding, encouraging discussion and peer learning, and providing feedback and assessment) when and while their students were actually reading.
Deep and Jay began to discuss the problem and search for a solution. Given Jay's penchant for working on big problems and social equity, coupled with his background in technology, it was a great match. They piloted a prototype at Deep’s school in which students performed 23% better on post reading comprehension tests and over 80% preferred it to traditional methods. After that validation, Actively Learn was born.