Category Archives: Goals

Striving, goal-setting and volition, including the insights from Kay Atman, Ph.D.

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This article reflects upon the’s Partner Handbook, a guide for creating XPs, playlists and badges.

The CEO of Collective Shift, Connie Yowell, the company formed to launch, wants to transform learning into a lifestyle.



Being active, fit, and an athlete is a lifestyle. Many of the “lifestyle sports” are included within the grant proposals of 2016. Swimming, water polo, golf, kayaking, running and ultimate are certainly lifestyle sports. These activities have a lot going on, plenty of “mojo,” much to emulate.

As we work together to make learning a lifestyle, let’s work within the lifestyle sports and insure that learning is included there, in obvious ways, so that plenty of others can join, follow-along, and embrace this lifestyle of learning. To create lifelong learning, use recreation.

Giving young people better tools in their preparation for life gets top billing at A robust suite of additional enrichment activities and experiences for better preparing youngsters is needed and welcomed.

Sadly, many of the opportunities provided for inter-city kids are frail. Often, the institutional hurdles are high and frequent. Our swim team can’t have practices on Saturdays and Sundays. Go figure. The older kids can’t be fooled. Perpetual defeat is a buzz kill.

Let’s support the drive and desire for being dedicated, determined and disciplined. Athletes have those passions, especially when they’re improving, having fun and a sense of fairness comes within their competitive landscapes. Our kids should feel the support – then, they rise to meet challenges. Here, we can compete with anyone, anywhere. Kids, you can receive the help to become the best you can be, and that means that some are sure to become the best in the world. For everyone on the team in the community, that makes life exciting. That’s the fun lifestyle that trains minds and bodies.

High school kids who come to understand and trust the vision of Creating Literate Olympians Here can make it so. The mind leads and the body follows. They go together. The mind never leaves the body. The learning never stops. aims to better align-and-unify mind-and-body. prevents the divorce between the two.

Learning, teaching and playing is for the young and not-so-young. The target market for is 13 to 24. Why stop at 24? The system of digital badges at champions lifelong learning for those who want to live a long life. Play unifies the young and not-so-young and prevents the divorce among the age groups. It is important to engage the kids, and everyone else.

Coach and camper
Coach and camper.

Plenty of opportunities are within these plans that speak directly to the circle of life. In Pittsburgh, our co-ed masters’ water polo team generally beats the region’s best high school boys’ team. It was an epic moral victory, and lots of fun, when the North Allegheny high school boys squad tied the Pittsburgh Masters squad at a game in the 2016 CMU tournament. efforts make spaces and interesting challenges so that the seasoned 50-year-olds get to buck up with the youngsters in their prime in underwater hockey, speed golf, aquatic SKWIM, ultimate, pull-ups, goal-setting, sport-first-aid, computer animation and app development. Learning lifetime-and-lifestyle lessons goes beyond age 24. Health and wellness is not a guarantee for many in communities where violence, drug use and poverty are pervasive.

Some XPs, playlists, pathways and badges within are tagged #Lifelong_LRNG_Lifestyle when suited for inter-generational settings.

Home quote
Home quote from their handbook.

The Introduction’s “home base” can’t be confused with “home plate” nor “base camp.”

Baseball has a different concept of being “home.” In baseball, one must summon sizable amounts of courage to step-up-to-the-plate at home. Getting to home as a base runner signals a long-trip around the diamond’s three other bases. Regardless of the illustration and baseball’s vocabulary, makes loud calls for great teams of people to step out of their comfort zones, to be present elsewhere, to be prepared by thinking ahead and to reflect, log and digitize their insights along their ways.

Both LRNG and aim to connect communities around shared goals. The design pillars of LRNG match well among the goals and quarters of The over-arching goal is playing well with others. LRNG and play well together.

LRNG’s four design pillars: Craft Experiences, Gather Communities, Build the World, and Unlock Opportunities features four design pillars too within its playlist for the Tech Captains badge. Plenty of overlap and common ground exists. The “pillars” are called “quarters.” Quarter One is Present. Quarter Two is Play. Quarter Three is Technology. Quarter Four is Development. Plenty of common ground exists.

The alignment of the pillars and quarters are slightly different, but the sequence of the pillars as well as quarters are not paramount.

Pillars and Quarters
Similarities of LRNG & Play.CLOH LRNG Pillars Quarters
# 4 Pillars 4 Quarters
1 Craft Experiences Play Well with Others
Learners choose. Focus on passions of: sports, recreation, aquatics, outdoors, fitness.
2 Gather Communities Being Present
Provide opportunities to learn through relationships, introductions, orientation. Calls to meaningful interactions with diverse community of mentors and experts. Not Just a Game (film). Challenge youth to engage with code of conduct. Build their own identity and wiki page.
3 Build the World Technology
Use modern Tech for self-expression. Publish. Solve real world problems. Revise and improve code.
4 Unlock Opportunities Human Development
Experiences move to new opportunities. Connect to future career and learning paths. Imagine bigger concept maps of achievements. Goal setting. Learn volition. College recruiting. On to lifeguards, instructors and Rookie Coaches Badges efforts consider “Why” first. “How” should be informed by “Why.” In other words, the method and activities should be informed by the purpose.

The why behind the digital badges called Tech Captains becomes clear as dozens of high school students are hired to serve as coaches, instructors, lifeguards and camp leaders for Swim & Water Polo Camp. All workers are not equal.

In 2015, 40+ employees coached more than 200 students at 10 different pools. The best employees have been high school swimmers on the Obama varsity swim team. Other athletes, but not full-time swimmers, have been great workers too. Of course the varsity swimmers know the routines, expectations and drills of the head coach. Having played the games and understanding the rules matters. They know the communication style of the boss, can read emails and be responsible to their duties. The more valuable employees have been the ones with a prior relationships with the program leader, their fellow workers and the activities. The greatness days at camp come when varsity swimmers perform and lead the younger students in grades 3 to 7.

Pittsburgh has a proven demand and available facilities to train more than 2,000 youngsters in a Swim & Water Polo Camp in the summers. Throughout the winter, Pittsburgh has the available facilities to train more than 6,000 swimmers.

Sticking points for growing the programs to reach thousands of kids are a shortage of coaches for staff positions and a lacking political will by certain individuals in high positions. The awarding of educational grants would help to sway the opinions among certain administration in the school district.

Throughout the school year, about 40 kids are involved in the varsity swim teams, boys and girls at Obama. In the district of 30,000 students, Pittsburgh has about 250 swimmers among all the schools and grades.

However, a staff of more than 100 would be needed to lead campers by the thousands. The pathway to to the Tech Captains badges can help to develop the individuals who can join the staff for future camps.

Hamstring Stretch in Homewood with Water Polo Players
Hamstring Stretch in Homewood with Water Polo Players

An All-City Sports Camp has been proposed. However, other posts are already being filled in the community. Citiparks, the YMCA, Sarah Heinz House, Hosanna House, Pittsburgh Ultimate, Venture Outdoors, Big Leagues, First Tee of Pittsburgh and our Swim & Water Polo Camp hire camp instructors. The Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation and the Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center hire about 150 kids, ages 14 to 21, for the city’s summer youth employment program.

In 2017 and beyond, it would be great if the individuals who have LRNG digital badges could take a merit-based bypass of the job lottery. Not all the kids get hired with the city’s youth job program called Learn & Earn. Those with digital badges should get hired first. That way, digital badges would unlock opportunities.

Every youngster in Pittsburgh could learn to swim and be a part of the sportsmanship and teamwork experiences of an All City Sports Camp after 400 participants have been trained in the process of playing well with others in the quest for Tech Captain digital badges. But there is more. Existing camp experiences are already offered in the community by many of the supporting agencies and institutions within the network. Those camps hire high school students. Every camp can benefit with more enhanced staff preparations with year-round XPs.

The Tech Captains digital badges help to tighten the circle of life. Consider the growth of a youngster who is a camper at age 10 and then becomes a motivated learner at age 13 and grows into a valued junior instructor in a camp at age 15 to then hooks up in a camp-coaching role at age 17.


For the high school students, fitting in the time for training, playing, competing, studying, resting, planning, socializing, learning, and instructing other youngsters is demanding work that can be made somewhat less burdensome with the hope of a pathway charted to meaningful badges from

Many of the young adults at age 19 are doing college internships.

The connected learning approach prioritizes experience over knowledge transfer, formation over facts. It centralizes the importance of community connections, real-world relevancy and digital technologies. The approach bridges connections between communities, content, and practitioners. When successful, it brings together learner’s passions, people, and paths.

Pittsburgh’s shared passions: Sports, Technology, Our Children. Pittsburgh is a sports town. Pittsburgh is also a technology town. Our kids are a passion for many too. connects these common passions of sports, fitness and wellness to technology for our kids. With this approach, the entire community can be responsible. Schools, nonprofits, companies, gamers, governments, caregivers, mentors, and peers are all involved in

“I Wish Songs” of movies described, with musical shorts. Obvious goal-setting process.

Do you know about the “I Wish Songs?”

Give a listen to this segment of the NPR show, This American Life. If the link does not work in your browser, search for show 259.

  1. What do you wish for?
  2. See our growing listing of “I Wish Songs.” Add your contributions to the listing of these songs too.
  3. What is your favorite “I Wish Song?”
  4. What is your “I Wish Song?”

Insights into Goals Digital Badges at

Growing up

Moving from a child to an adult includes goals

One maturational development feature of the transition from childhood to adulthood is the emergence of the capacity to perform executive functions (McCloskey, 2009, 2012).

The executive functions are found in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. The importance of the work of the executive function in the process of maturational development cannot be overstated.

Keys to success of an individual’s maturing capacity for self-regulation are within an individual’s ability to:

  1. set goals,
  2. make plans,
  3. “make it happen” and,
  4. finish what he/she starts.

Digital badges on Goals at can help to train the development of skills and attitudes of goal orientation and self-regulation.

The simultaneous interaction of goal setting and self-regulation makes a process where the commitment to “do the work” occurs. Goal setting happens concurrently with self-regulation.

Without this commitment to invest their personal energy in the learning, practicing and internalizing of what is being learned, the participants’ adherence to the meaning of the learning (the choice to adhere to a health-promoting lifestyle after the training program is over) will be only perfunctory.

To flourish and enjoy success within today’s programs and schools, we must teach students the basic skills and attitudes associated with intentional goal setting and purposeful self-regulation. Both goal setting and purposeful self-regulation can help students to maximize their potential. Exposure and mastery of these elements of the goal-setting intervention help to ensure that the participants become fit in body, mind and heart.

Goal orientation and self-regulation are two key factors in the successful achievement of each individual’s healthy eating and physical activity goals. But, learning the content and having the knowledge is not enough. More importantly, the desire is for our youngsters to choose to live in more healthy ways. Without emotional coherence, also know as commitment, that comes from the integration of goal orientation and self-regulation, students stumble.

The positive integration can be observed in each individual’s choices and behaviors. These factors support the CDC’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model.

The Goals digital badges of give coaches and program leaders in schools an enriched repertoire for teaching specific skills related to self-regulation. These materials and our process comes with a scaffolding of the maturation process among the students, coaches, teachers and guardians.

By challenging students to set goals within a carefully tailored, individualized, self-care-oriented instructional program, students have the opportunity to develop the capacity to set goals, make plans and assume personal responsibility for their own behavior.  (McClelland, 1985).

Kay Atman, Ph.D., the goals coach with, devoted much of her career’s work in the field of education on goal-setting, striving and volition topics. She developed, researched, validated and published a clinical evaluation tool that is central to the mission of the goals digital badges. Her Goal Orientation Index was first published in 1985 in Pittsburgh, PA, by Curriculum Innovators & Implementers, Inc.  (See References.)

In this pathway of completing the activities of the Goals digital badges, participants learn about goal-setting and self-regulation skills.

Goals/Level 1: Set goals and assess what the participants have “going for them” as well as a potential hazards that may interfere with their progress toward success. They set goals, visualize, make a plan, make it happen and finish.

Goals_Level_2Goals/Level 2: Participants name a four-member support team, contact them and enlist their encouragement and help with accountability.

Goals/Level 3: Participants add systematic self-monitoring of progress toward their goal-pursuit regimen. For example, this might include length of practice, number of practices and increasing levels of difficulty with practice routines.

Goals/Level 4: Participants identify and assess areas of stress in goal-routine regimens and design corrective measures to alleviate problems. The purpose is to strengthen participants’ capacity for self-evaluation, self-monitoring and self-regulation.Goals_Level_4

Goals/Level 5: Participants take a self-assessment instrument, Plan and Reflect for Success. It helps improve one’s capacity for goal accomplishment. Advanced self-assessment skills and reflecting on elements of personal performance is a significant factor in the development of self-care agency, the willingness to take an active role in one’s personal well-being.

Goals/Level 6: Called Goals/Master, the last digital badge in the series, reinforces intentional agency and the mentor’s model. Participants are trained in mentoring skills and are then able to facilitate the development of goal-orientation and self-regulation skills for an aspiring goal-setter. Mentoring skills include an understanding of the processes of striving and volition in the motivational make-up of an individual. The understanding includes the concept of Intentional Agency, a key factor in an individual’s commitment to long-term goal accomplishment. (See The Mentor’s Model: Atman, 1992.)Goals_Masters

At all levels, participants are encouraged to make regular reports to the members of their support teams. They keep track of their progress toward goals with provided charts and in an optional web and/or mobile app. Students are mentored throughout the process by coaches involved in this project who have been trained in the processes of goal orientation and self-regulation.

The process of teaching goal-orientation and self-regulation skills to the participants in this project parallels the set of personal skills found in the concept, Self-Care Agency. The Self-Care Agency is a well-known concept within the field of health-care.

Constructs from the Goal Orientation Index are used in this project as the model to frame the goal-related activities in the Goals digital badges. These steps have been used to predict significant attributes of Self-Care Agency. (Atman, 2015)

Numerous studies have been undertaken related to self-care agency. (Kearney and Fleischer, 1979; Hanson and Bickel, 1985; Riesch and Hauck, 1988; McBride, 1991; Cutler, 2003; Sousa, Hartman, Miller and Carroll, 2008; Baker and Denyes, 2008; Skidmore, et al., 2010; DeVito Dabbs and Song, 2013).

Evidence-based research supports this project: Goal Orientation and Self-Care Agency, in the journal, Progress in Transplantation, Volume 25, No. 3, pp. 230-242. Kay Atman et al. attempted to predict a patient’s surgical outcomes from their ability to follow-through, or compliance, with post-operative instructions. Data obtained from this study indicated that several characteristics were significant predictors of success. It documented the importance of goal orientation as a predictor of Self-Care Agency.

Dive into these activities.

The Goals digital badges provides an intervention concerning health, wellness and academic success. Activities tie together inter-generational aquatics activities with a sustained, focused and supportive devotion to personal behaviors, executive functions, goal setting and self-regulation skills.

This intervention helps chart a course for youngsters that blends the fun of aquatics with honest introspection. The sequence of the makes each individual accomplishment more positive and empowering. It can also be used to enhance team performance as its members strive toward common team goals and encourage each other to perform at higher levels.

There are few boundaries for re-use of the Goals digital badges.

Professionals within the teams, schools, school districts and health departments can monitor progress. Digital badge bestowing records, app downloads, and summary reports can ascertain both the reach and the levels of success for this intervention.

Pittsburgh’s aquatic programming provides a feel-good story worthy of sharing to personnel at other school districts. Professional development sessions for teachers, coaches and school administrators can share the GOI.

Spreading fitness, water polo, SKWIM, and digital badges throughout the nation are missions of this endeavor.

We expect that the real catalyst for commitment to healthy eating and long-term physical activity lies in the pride that participants take in their own performance that is accompanied by an increase in over-all capacity with excellent goal accomplishment. Self regulation is a key ingredient. With the commitment to do the work required, on a continual basis, excellence is within reach. The goal-setting process enables a practical type of reflection on their process of being and becoming.

More can be accomplished with physical activities when one battles in those struggles to obtain experiences based upon energy management with others. Teamwork is something to strive to obtain. Successful journeys include goal setting fun and working together. When students, teachers, coaches and adults work on a goal-setting process together, particularly in the areas of healthy eating and physical activity, Jedi-like advancements can occur.