LEARN to Scale Toolkit: Approach

Scaling Educational Products Invent-Apply-Transition


The Invent-Apply-Transition (I-A-T) framework is a systematic approach developed by SRI International to bring research to market. Researchers and developers can apply I-A-T activities at key stages of innovation to design for equitable and sustainable scale. In the early stage (Invent), researchers and developers seek to understand a perceived problem of practice or need and invent a solution that is likely to address that problem or need. As the researchers and developers further define the solution and try it out in the next stage (Apply), they improve the product so that it fully satisfies end-user needs and meets market requirements. In the final stage of innovation (Transition), the researchers and developers move to satisfy the needs of a large or strategic segment of the market and forge a scaling pathway.

The I-A-T model is traditionally used in business. To modify this model for education, the LEARN Network has integrated principles of Liberatory Design, a design approach that addresses “equity challenges and change efforts in complex systems.” Notably, the working framework incorporates the Notice and Reflect modes of Liberatory Design as an ongoing cycle in the design phases of Invent and Apply. The Notice and Reflect modes encourage researchers and developers to practice self-awareness and situational awareness in the design process and to pause for reflecting on intention and impact and adapting throughout the process.

The working framework below provides an early roadmap to creating educational products built for equitable and sustainable scale.

A flow diagram depicting how the “Notice” and “Reflect” principles of Liberatory Design can be integrated into the I-A-T framework to create educational products built for equitable and sustainable scale.

The stages of I-A-T roughly map to activities traditionally conducted in education research as detailed below. Given that designing, testing, and scaling an educational product is an iterative process, researchers and developers would benefit from reviewing toolkit content and materials at the Invent, Apply, and Transition phases no matter what stage of research and development they are currently in.

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Needs sensing
Literature review
Theory of change
Logic model
Concept validation
Rapid cycle experiments
Learning engineering
A/B tests
Effectiveness studies
Efficacy studies
Pilot studies
Replication studies
Effectiveness studies
Expansion or scaling
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LEARN more

Introduction to Liberatory Design. This webpage from the National Equity Project details liberatory design and provides resources to learn more and enact the approach.

From Research to Market: Development of a Transition Process to Integrate Sustainable Scaling Methodologies into Education Innovation Research Design and Development. This report summarizes common strategies that education researchers employ in effective scale-up and introduces the I-A-T framework.

Using the Invent-Apply-Transition Framework to Design Educational Innovations for Scale. This blog post introduces the I-A-T framework and identifies lessons learned from adapting the framework for education.

Designing and Scaling Equity-Focused Educational Products. This blog post provides an overview of Liberatory Design and discusses how applying the principles of Liberatory Design can support scaling.

Introduction to the Invent Apply Transition (I-A-T) Framework. This document introduces the I-A-T framework and outlines the iterative steps and scaling activities involved in successfully bringing educational products to market.