Recognizing the research on intrinsic motivation, MCL leaders and learning facilitators build a culture for learning. Building a growth mindset culture, offering diverse learning formats, meeting learners at their optimal learning level and style of learning, providing choices and meaningful feedback on learning that takes place anytime and anywhere, are all contributing factors when designing motivating learning opportunities.


The ability to design motivating learning opportunities requires a unique understanding of motivation. As we mentioned in the Shifting the Mindset Component, building a growth mindset culture is essential to the successful implementation of customizing structures and the Ideal Learning Experience. We understand growth and fixed mindsets from Carol Dweck’s work in “Mindset The New Psychology of Success”. Dweck’s mindset work has directly impacted the ability of our schools to build and adopt a culture focused on learning.

Our Collaborative for Customized Learning has also studied a variety of researchers who have developed theories of intrinsic motivation. Edward Deci’s theory about Autonomy or Compliance, “Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation”, Daniel Pink’s “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”, and Marzano & Pickerings “The Highly Engaged Classroom: The Classroom Strategies Series” are all resources we have used to build our understanding of intrinsic motivation.

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drive what motivates us
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mcl power sequence

With this understanding, we have the tools to design motivating learning opportunities that build in strategies like choice, demonstrating learning in multiple ways, meeting learners where they are in their learning, allowing them to move at their own learning pace, connecting with their interest levels, etc. 

Our Collaborative learning facilitators/teachers claim that once they build this culture AND shift to a focus on learning their learners are much more engaged and own the future of their learning. They also report that when they adopt our 3 Circle Model (described under our Quality Instruction Component) of complex reasoning, content knowledge, and habits of mind, their learners show a new excitement about their learning.

After several years of observing MCL implementation classrooms, Chuck Schwahn and Bea McGarvey described what they witnessed as the “MCL Power Sequence”

Notice in this sequence the first step is to build a system where meeting learners at their level of learning becomes a priority. Make no mistake, this is a big step and requires the implementation of important customizing structures, but it is well worth the effort. 

In Bea McGarvey’s MCL Learning Path Series, she addresses the research on motivation in her “Shifting the Mindset Learning Path Series”. Our CCL Consortium/Induction project includes McGarvey’s learning paths series which gives us an excellent resource when working with new MCL Implementers. 


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more MCL Components

Shifting the Mindset

Skilled Leadership

Quality Instruction

Viable Learning Outcomes

Motivating Learning Opportunities

Varied Evidence of Learning

Customized Structures

Transformational Technologies

Implementation Story: Windham Primary, Windham, Maine

Read how Windham Primary, one of our CCL Members, is implementing their vision for customized learning. Windham Primary leaders encourage and support their staff as they transform structures to provide the Ideal Learning Experience for each of their learners.

Update on Events

"What customizing structures are you focused on and what challenges are you facing at implementing those structures? Let’s collaborate and help offer solutions." This is the topic for our Leaders Lunch, Learn, & Collaborate sessions tomorrow, December 4th @ 10:30...

Next Week for CCL Members

We have only 2 weeks before our Thanksgiving break... Here are some of our meetings and learning events scheduled between now and the holiday. This coming Monday, November 14th we have two events scheduled. At 10:30 our Leaders Lunch, Learn, & Collaborate session...

MCL, CCL, MCCL: What do they mean??

We can sometimes get confused by all the acronyms.... MCL, Mass Customized Learning refers to a vision that Chuck Schwahn & Bea McGarvey wrote about in their first book, "inevitable Mass Customized Learning, Learning in the Age of Empowerment". In their book they...

Leaders Lunch, Learn, & Collaborate (LLC) Sessions 2022-2023

This ongoing series of online discussions will provide building-level and district leaders with an opportunity to problem solve and deepen their understanding of designing a learning community that provides every learner with the Ideal Learning Experience....


The Collaborative for Customized Learning (CCL) is an organization of individuals and learning communities who are transforming their systems to provide the Ideal Learning Experience (ILX) for all their learners.

2022 MCL Summit/Think Tank Starts @ 8 a.m. Wednesday, July 27th

Over 90 MCL Implementers are traveling to Portland, Maine for our 8th annual MCL National Summit. We are excited to offer 3 keynote messages, 21 showcase breakouts, and 3 think tanks... True to our vision, we will be leveraging the collective intelligence and wisdom...

2022 MCL National Summit/Think Tank

After two summers away the MCL National Alliance along with The Collaborative for Customized Learning is hosting our annual MCL National Summit on July 27 & 28 in Portland, Maine. Check out details here: https://bit.ly/MCLSUMMIT2022

MCL Consortium/Induction Program

Our annual consortium/induction program is schedule to begin with a full day of training on August 11th delivered via Zoom. New hires/learning facilitators to the profession, or new to designing and implementing a standards-based approach, are encouraged to join us...

The Collaborative for Customized Learning

As of September 11, 2020, the name of our organization has changed to: "The Collaborative for Customized Learning" At our annual Board retreat, our Board of Directors unanimously voted to change our organization's name to better describe our purpose and membership....