ADL Initiative Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) Requirements (FY2018)

Request White Papers to be submitted through Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) by close of business (COB) on December 29, 2017

WHS Acquisition Directorate ADL Contract POCs:
Mr. Anthony Weedin
anthony.j.weedin.civ@mail.mil
(703) 545-6963

Mr. John Czaika
john.e.czaika.civ@mail.mil
(703) 545-3375

POCs for ADL Initiative:
Dr. Van Brewer
External R&D Lead
van.brewer.ctr@adlnet.gov

Mr. Warren Bizub
Operations Lead
warren.bizub.ctr@adlnet.gov



(1) TLA Data Visualization and Associated Learning Analytics

The xAPI specification provides the opportunity to conduct micro-level, semantically-defined behavior tracking. However, to date, organizations typically measure and store primarily macro-behaviors, such as test scores and course completion data. We believe the next step to widespread adoption of micro-level behavior-driven learning systems is the development of models, prototypes, and specifications for analyzing, interpreting, and visualizing this data. The ADL Initiative seeks proposals to address this need. Proposals should build from Technology Readiness Levels 4 to 6 and should describe how proposed deliverables will integrate with the ADL Initiative’s ongoing Total Learning Architecture (TLA) project, including testing in the annual TLA testing event beginning August 2018. (Note, other TLA components include competency management, learner profiles management, and content search, discovery, sequencing and launch. This project should interact with those components of the TLA and focus on the extraction, analysis, packaging, and presentation of xAPI data. For more details on the TLA, contact the ADL Initiative.)

Ideal projects in this area will include all of the following:

  • Needs analysis report on learning analytics in xAPI-enabled environments to include how these analytics may intersect with xAPI profiles, better inform adaptation (e.g., content sequencing and meta-adaptation), provide insights to human instructors, and, in aggregate, provide systems-level insights to organizational leaders
  • Conceptual design for various “dashboard” exemplars that visually depict how analyzed data could be meaningfully displayed to stakeholders (to include learners [self], instructors [individual, group], and organizational leaders [aggregate]); these graphical mock-ups should correspond to (and may be part of) the needs analysis report
  • Requirements document for integrating learning analytics into the TLA specifications and associated reference implementation model; anticipate that this document will require annual updates as the TLA project matures
  • Design, development, and integration of limited-scale prototype analytics algorithms and visualization dashboards into the multi-year TLA test and development cycle; the web-based “dashboards” should visualize xAPI data for learners and instructors
  • Stakeholder analysis report, including the methods for, and associated results from, soliciting stakeholder feedback about their data needs, display preferences, and reactions to the conceptual and/or developed prototype dashboards
  • Participation in TLA empirical testing, which includes annual testing with personnel at a military facility, two preparatory pilot events at Government-assigned locations, and ongoing coordination with a diverse team of other TLA technical contributors
  • Contributions to TLA specifications documents, which may include (as applicable) definitions of best practices, inputs for xAPI profiles, data protocols, architecture recommendations, or API definitions
  • Preference will be given to those offerors who use open-source analysis and/or visualization tools, who deliver the prototype algorithms and visualization software under open-source or Government-use licenses, and who produce reports and software prototypes with some generalizable applicability.

    (2) TLA Content and Pedagogical (Andragogical) Model

    The ADL Initiative seeks learning scientists to help develop (a) new conceptual models for the design of next-generation learning experiences and (b) a prototype library of learning experiences (content) that support personalized, multi-platform learning for individuals.

    The ADL Initiative is developing the Total Learning Architecture (TLA), a scalable “intelligent learning ecosystem” comprised of various hardware technologies, media, and independent software services linked together by standardized APIs and shared data formats. The hardware includes computers, tablets, mobile devices, simulators, augmented and virtual reality systems, and physical sensors. The software services include capabilities such as competency management, learning profile stores, learning analytics, and meta-adaptation. Once fully realized, the TLA will enable personalized (adaptive), career-long, ubiquitous learning (i.e., truly anytime, anywhere, and integrated across any platform/device). To support this, the ADL Initiative seeks proposals for defining a scientifically based model for designing these next-generation learning experiences (i.e., generalizable theory building) and for developing an associated corpus of content for empirical testing (i.e., applied exemplar development).

    Proposals should build from Technology Readiness Levels 4 to 6 and should describe how proposed deliverables will integrate with the ADL Initiative’s ongoing TLA project, including with its annual testing event beginning August 2018. (Note, other parts of the TLA project address technical delivery, assessment, and learner profiling functions. This project should interact with those components of the TLA and focus on content creation, metadata definition, and design of the pedagogical model that informs content sequencing and delivery decisions. For more details on the TLA architecture, contact the ADL Initiative.)

    Ideal projects in this area will include all of the following:

  • Theory development for instructional design and delivery strategies in a future learning ecosystem; ideally, this includes a report(s) and peer-reviewed publication(s)
  • Conceptual pedagogical model for integrating data from disparate systems (e.g., e-learning module, traditional school course, simulation, training management system, human resource system) and at different levels of granularity (e.g., micro-behavior, test results, course outcome), and using it to drive instructional decisions; this model should coincide with, and can be delivered as part of, the theory development work
  • Design and development of prototype content and pedagogical rules for use in the multi-year TLA test and development cycle; expect to design an overarching set of adaptation rules (i.e., pedagogical model) and develop 10 contact-hours of nonlinear content for e-learning, mobile learning, and/or ebook platforms that include metadata with alignment to a predefined competency framework. Content subject-matter will be defined by the Government and subject-matter experts will be provided, if required
  • Participation in TLA empirical testing, which includes annual testing with personnel at a military facility, two preparatory pilot events at Government-assigned locations, and ongoing coordination with a diverse team of other TLA technical contributors

  • Preference will be given to those offers who deliver the prototype content under open-source or Government-use licenses.

    (3) TLA Learning Experience System Incorporation

    The ADL Initiative seeks proposals for integrating prototype Total Learning Architecture (TLA) specifications into existent “learning experience systems.”

    The ADL Initiative is developing the TLA, a scalable “intelligent learning ecosystem” comprised of various hardware technologies, media, and independent software services linked together by standardized APIs and shared data formats. The hardware includes computers, tablets, mobile devices, simulators, augmented and virtual reality systems, and physical sensors. The software services include capabilities such as competency management, learning profile stores, learning analytics, and meta-adaptation. Several existing “closed” systems already partially meet this vision (e.g., blending personalized, competency-based, web-based and mobile learning), but they do so within bounded contexts (e.g., for define set of subjects, delivery methods, or institutions).

    The ADL Initiative seeks to collaborate with developers of these existing learning experience systems. Towards that end, the ADL Initiative seeks proposals for (a) providing feedback to, and participating in ongoing development of, the TLA specifications, (b) integrating prototype TLA specifications into an existing learning experience system, and (c) incorporating that learning experience system into annual TLA testing.

    Proposals should build from Technology Readiness Levels 4 to 6 and should describe how proposed deliverables will integrate with the ADL Initiative’s ongoing TLA project, including with its annual testing event beginning August 2018. (Note, other parts of the TLA project address centralized meta-adaptation, competency management, and learner profiling. This project should interact with those components and focus on integration of the learning experience system into the larger ecosystem. For more details on the TLA architecture, contact the ADL Initiative.)

    Ideal projects in this area will include all of the following:

  • Provide recommendations to TLA specifications, including feedback on existing draft specifications and ongoing participation in the ADL Initiative–led TLA specifications working groups (i.e., the overall TLA working group and its subordinate working groups on competency interoperability specifications and xAPI profiles)
  • Contributions to TLA specifications documents, which may include (as applicable) definitions of best practices, inputs for xAPI profiles, data protocols, architecture recommendations, or API definitions.
  • Extension of an existing learning experience system to incorporate the prototype TLA specifications, making it interoperable with a larger system-of-systems
  • Participation in TLA empirical testing, which includes integration of the TLA-enabled learning experience system into an annual testing event with personnel at a military facility, two preparatory pilot events at Government-assigned locations, and ongoing coordination with a diverse team of other TLA technical contributors
  • Limited content development (for testing); although some content (with metadata and competency definitions), will be provided, offerors should anticipate developing up to three contact-hours of content; subject-matter experts will be provided, if needed

  • (4) Pervasive Learning System (PERLS) – Personal Self-Regulated Learning and Training

    The ADL Initiative seeks proposals for the continued maturation, interoperability integration, and applied testing of the PERLS personal assistant for learning capability.

    The ADL Initiative has developed a prototype, smartphone-based personal assistance for learning. The system, called “PERLS,” employs a complex and novel self-regulated learning model, developed through prior research into adaptive distributed learning theory. The corresponding technological prototype uses a native iOS application combined with server-based content and processes to present personalized instruction to learners, adapted via machine learning, based upon learner interaction cues, learning phases, and context awareness. The technical architecture uses both micro-services architecture, for flexible and agile software, and graph databases for flexible and real-time recommendation engines. The current prototype meets criteria between Technology Readiness Levels 5 and 6.

    Proposals should build to a mature Technology Readiness Level 6 and must describe how the PERLS development efforts will integrate with the ADL Initiative’s ongoing TLA project, including with its annual testing event beginning August 2018. (Note, the Total Learning Architecture [TLA] is a scalable “intelligent learning ecosystem” comprised of various hardware technologies, media, and independent software services linked together by standardized APIs and shared data formats. PERLS is intended to serve as an “activity provider” in the larger TLA project. For more details on the TLA architecture, contact the ADL Initiative.)

    Although not limited to these, proposals should address all of the following:

  • Upscale from existing pilot tests conducted in FY17 to implement the lessons-learned, including improved/varied content, personalization, and user-experiences
  • Mature the PERLS prototype software, maintaining its open-source licensing, to include exploring cross-application recommendations, enhancement of adaptation systems, and enhancement of crowdsourcing capabilities
  • Develop authoring/administration capabilities to enable instructors/admins to develop content, manage display cards and content corpuses, and manage user information
  • Determine best practices for PERLS content, including (a) methods for converting traditional macro-content courses into micro-content, and (b) a methodology and tools for planning, acquiring, transforming, ingesting, and analyzing the efficacy of a corpus
  • Provide documentation for methods, policies, and procedures for development of micro-learning content appropriate for the PERLS system; provide documentation on all systems, services, languages, and licenses used in the development of PERLS
  • Develop and implement means to support a PERLS offline learning scenario that synchronizes content and learning records to a system that currently relies on an internet connection for various server-side processes
  • Integrate the PERLS with the Army’s Generalizable Intelligent Framework for Tutoring (GIFT), and conduct focused testing of PERLS’s recommendations and micro-learning content model with short GIFT-based courses
  • Design, develop, and administer ecological tests of PERLS in military contexts, for testing of reactions (Level 1), learning outcomes (Level 2), and technological functionality (e.g., recommendation engine, use at scale, authoring tools); this item will require development/extension of a corpus of content for the pilot testing
  • Participation in TLA empirical testing, which includes annual testing with personnel at a military facility, two preparatory pilot events at Government-assigned locations, and ongoing coordination with a diverse team of other TLA technical contributors
  • Contributions to TLA specifications documents, which may include (as applicable) definitions of best practices, inputs for xAPI profiles, data protocols, architecture recommendations, or API definitions



  • How to Participate

    The official FY18 BAA solicitation (number W911QY-BAA-FY17) is available on FedBizOpps. A summary is provided below for convenience, but all submissions must follow the guidelines defined in the FedBizOpps solicitation. (If a conflict exists between this summary and the directions provided on FedBizOpps, defer to the FedBizOpps guidance.) The FedBizOpps contract number and solicitation updates are in process and will be forthcoming in the near future. For questions on contract information please contact WHS contract POC listed.

    Step ONE

    White Paper submissions are the first step in the process. For FY18, White Papers are due December 29, 2017. Offerors are encouraged to contact Dr. Van Brewer to discuss project ideas prior to White Paper submission. Offerors may use their own format for the White Paper but are encouraged to consider “Heilmeier’s Catechism” as part of their organizing structure.

    Step TWO

    After White Paper review, offerors may be asked to submit a Formal Proposal. Formal Proposals should include detailed technical and management plans, pricing data, execution timelines, and a proposed statement of work. After receiving a formal request, offerors have 30 days to submit the proposal to the Contracting Specialist and the ADL Initiative. Once a proposal is requested, open discussions with ADL Initiative personnel are no longer permitted other than with explicit Contracting Officer involvement and oversight. For FY18, ADL plans to notify offerors of Requests for Proposals around January 16, 2018. Offerors should be notified of the award decision by February 18, 2018.