Enabling self-directed learning with comprehensive instructional content

Helping to define and implement a sweeping instructional taxonomy of common concepts for grades 11-14

Cramster was a study site that let students access the problems from textbooks and get community help, among other things. Chegg.com, a huge textbook rental service, later bought it. We wrote college-level definitions of key terms in all major subject areas—everything from Algebra and Mechanical Engineering to Poetry and Anthropology—to aid student understanding and give them contextual definitions when these terms come up in their online studies or community discussions.  

Challenge

To serve as a bridge between and within their services, Cramster (now a part of Chegg) wanted to incorporate an instructional taxonomy of common topics, concepts, and methods used in the subject areas of mathematics, science, language arts, history, engineering, social sciences, and business taught in grades 11 - 14. Our background in curriculum development, instructional methods and texts, and specifically, the content areas to be addressed made us a smart choice.

Solution

We built a complete taxonomy of over 3,000 possible terms from which a subset of terms was chosen. We then assigned content areas to subject matter experts on our team to write definitions and created supporting illustrations where necessary.

Outcome

Launched in 2010, the instructional taxonomy has made it easier for users to find and browse related materials, facilitate their comprehension and learning, and created a highly integrated offering for Cramster’s customers.