The COVA model is a teaching and learning model that combines Choice, Ownership, and Voice in an Authentic Learning experience.  This research-supported model builds on constructivist learning models to create a system that is flexible enough to meet the needs of diverse school structures, educators, and (most importantly) learners!  Because of the flexibility of the COVA model, it will work with any age group of learners, any subject, and in any classroom with any amount of technology integration.

In a COVA classroom a teacher must be prepared to give control of learning to students.  That’s a stark difference to traditional classroom teaching, where a teacher is in charge of everything in the classroom, from subjects taught to the products created by students to demonstrate understanding.  In a COVA classroom, students have:


  • over learning objectives
  • of learning resources
  • of learning process
  • of the products of their learning


  • of the learning experience
  • of all products created to demonstrate understanding
  • of the students’ work
  • of the methods of sharing student work (such as a digital portfolio)


  • through choices made throughout the learning process
  • through class discussion/ peer feedback
  • through content created through student choice, in the student’s own voice
  • through sharing the content in a manner chosen by the student


  • learning a subject in order to create content to share knowledge with others
  • synthesizing knowledge in order to create resources
  • connecting knowledge to personal passions
  • applying knowledge to real-world issues

Giving students COVA increases engagement by giving students agency in their learning and ownership of the products of it.

In a COVA classroom, technology is used in the most appropriate way.  COVA works fine in person-to-person, online-only, or hybrid (blended) classrooms.  COVA works best when paired with CSLE, which is Creating Significant Learning Environments.  With CSLE, the instructor is empowered to create a digital learning environment designed to promote COVA among students.  A Significant Learning Environment enables students ubiquitous access to learning resources, freedom to move through the course in their own way, tools to collaborate with other students, and the ability to create and share work with others.

In a COVA + CSLE classroom or program, teachers are more like facilitators of learning experiences and less like distributors of knowledge.  The heavy lifting belongs to the students, and that ownership of the entire learning process is what makes learning “stick” with students.  Because of this, students are more engaged, the work is more meaningful to the students, and the students understand what they’ve learned on a deeper level because they have already had to synthesize it thoroughly to be able to share what they’ve learned with others.

For more information about the COVA + CSLE model, and to download a free e-book about this model, please visit the links below.


Harapnuik, D (2017). COVA + CSLE  [Web post]. Retrieved from

Harapnuik, D, Thibodeaux, T., & Cummings, C. (2018). Choice, Ownership, and Voice through Authentic Learning. Downloaded from on 2/2/18.

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