Challenge Based Learning - Macro Challenge

Educator uses the Challenge Based Learning framework to personalize learning and develop ownership while learning cross-curricular content and developing twenty-first-century skills as well as creating and implementing a solution to a challenge in their community.
Made by Digital Promise - Challenge Based Learning

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

The educator engages in a Macro Challenge, where Learners identify and investigate Big Ideas, develop Challenges, do extensive investigation across multiple academic disciplines, and take full ownership of the process. The Challenge Based Learning Framework is used from start to finish, including the implementation and evaluation of the Solution in an authentic setting.

Method Components

Challenge Based Learning

Challenge Based Learning (CBL) provides an efficient and effective framework for learning while solving authentic Challenges. The framework is collaborative and hands-on, asking all participants (students, teachers, families, and community members) to identify Big Ideas, ask good questions, discover and solve Challenges, gain in-depth subject area knowledge, develop twenty-first-century skills, and share their ideas.

Macro Challenges

The Macro Challenge builds on the skills of the Nano and Mini Challenges. Macro Challenges are longer (one month and longer) and allow considerable latitude for the Learners.

Challenge Based Learning Framework

The Challenge Based Learning Framework comprises three interconnected phases: Engage, Investigate, and Act. Each phase includes activities that prepare the Learners to move to the next stage. The Nano Challenge follows the general framework but shortens and simplifies the process.

  • Phase 1: Engage

    Through a process of Essential Questioning, the Learners move from an abstract Big Idea to a concrete and actionable Challenge.

  1. Big Ideas are broad concepts that are explored in multiple ways and are relevant to the Learners and the larger community (e.g., health).
  2. Essential Questioning allows the Learners to contextualize and personalize the Big Idea. The end product is a single Essential Question that is relevant to the individual or group (e.g., “What do I need to do to be healthy?”).
  3. Challenges turn the Essential Questions into a call to action by charging participants to learn about the subject and develop a Solution. Challenges are immediate and actionable.
  • Phase 2: Investigate

    All Learners plan and participate in a learning journey that builds the foundation for Solutions and addresses curriculum requirements and personal interests.

  1. Guiding Questions create a pathway to the knowledge and skills the Learners will need to develop a Solution to the Challenge. Categorizing and prioritizing the questions create an organized learning experience. Guiding Questions will continue to emerge throughout the experience.
  2. Guiding Activities and Resources are used to answer the Guiding Questions developed by the Learners. These activities and resources include any and all methods and tools available to the Learners.
  3. Analysis of the lessons learned through the Guiding Activities provides a foundation for the eventual identification of Solutions.
  • Phase 3: Act

    Evidence-based Solutions are developed, implemented with an authentic audience, and then evaluated based on their results.

  1. Solution concepts emerge from the findings made during the investigation phase. Using the design cycle, the Learners will prototype, test, and refine the Solution concepts.
  2. Implementation of the Solution takes place within a real setting with an authentic audience. The age of the Learners and the amount of time and resources available will guide the depth and breadth of the implementation.
  3. Evaluation provides the opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the Solution, make adjustments, and deepen subject area knowledge.

Document, Reflect, and Share

Throughout the Challenge, Learners document their experience using audio, video, images, and photography. The ongoing collection of content provides the resources for reflection, Informative assessment, and documentation of the learning process.

There are several pathways towards earning this micro-credential:

  1. Individually work through the CBL framework, starting with a Big Idea that you are passionate about and document the experience.
  2. Work with your peers, using the CBL framework to address a significant challenge in your school.
  3. Integrate CBL into a student learning experience.

It is highly recommended that you use the CBL tracking matrix and/or canvas available at:

Research & Resources

Supporting Research


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

The following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3and a “Yes” for each component of Part 2.

Part 1. Overview Questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • Activity Description: What activities did you, your peers, or students participate in to become proficient in Challenge Based Learning? Please describe the learning activities and strategies you used.
  • Activity Evaluation: How will you demonstrate mastery of the CBL Framework, and what evidence will you present?

Part 2. Work Examples/Artifacts

To earn this micro-credential, submit the following pieces of evidence:

  • Two group examples that demonstrate a deep understanding of each phase of the CBL process. These can be submitted using the CBL matrix or canvas and can contain links to exemplar presentations, diagrams, or videos.
  • Personal, peer, or student examples that demonstrate an understanding of the importance of documentation, reflection, and sharing. This can be demonstrated through a portfolio of work with examples of reflections and content that were shared with a larger audience.

Part 3. Educator Reflection

Provide a reflection on what you, your peers, or students learned, using the following questions as a guide (200-word limit):

  • What was the impact of the challenge experience on you, your peers, and the students?
  • How did the experience help students make connections between different curriculum areas?
  • What career and life skills did the students acquire?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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