Organization Details

What is your organization's name?

The Ultimate Learning Accelerator (TULA)

What is your organization's classification?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

In what city, town, or region is your organization headquartered?

Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Provide your organization’s mission and/or vision statement and list its core values.

Our Mission: Reinvent learning to help learners and educators reach their full potential.

Our Vision: To provide millions of children from different socio-economic backgrounds with high quality, affordable learning experiences led by passionate transformational educators.

Our Core Values:

How we work is important to us as it reflects who we are and is essential to achieving our mission. Our six core values guide how we work as individuals, and as a team: 

  1. Believe in Everyone: We believe human potential is unlimited and that everyone can learn, despite their background and circumstances. Persistence, character, focus, and the quality of learning experiences determine how much people learn, not inborn traits.
  2. Deliver Excellence: We aim high and work hard to deliver the best learning experiences we can every time. This will involve sometimes working beyond the call of duty and regular hours. The road to excellence is not always personally exciting, but we push through the important yet mundane tasks because these take us closer to achieving our mission.
  3. Be Good: We always adhere to the highest standards of behavior and integrity, and maintain a culture of honesty and professionalism.
  4. Keep Learning: We believe that great success comes through a long journey full of learning. Therefore we learn everyday and help those around us do the same. We accept mistakes are unavoidable especially when innovating, so it is important to learn from them rather than dwell and blame. 
  5. Work Together: We recognize that greater learning comes from working with others and learning from others, rather than always working on our own. We respect and support each other at all times, and practice excellence in teamwork. 
  6. Listen first, Decide carefully, Act fast: We study the problem, gather facts and evidence, and debate all possibilities before making a decision. Once the decision has been made, we act quickly and in unison.

How many products or programs does your organization operate? Please use numeric values only.


What stage of development is your organization’s product or program that is the focus of your LEAP Project?

Growth: An organization with an established product or program that is rolled out in one or more communities.
Team Lead Details

Who (first and last name) is the Team Lead for your application and LEAP Project?

Genica Bucao

Describe the role the Team Lead plays in your organization. [100-200 words recommended]

The Team Lead in TULA creates a learning-centric environment by leading all developmental programs that allow all learners and coaches to thrive. 

  • For Learners: Holistic Program

They oversee the continuous refinement of the Holistic Program through evidence-based design by incorporating recent educational advancements. They also ensure that all learning experiences align with our design principles of relevance, inclusion, clarity, engagement, and empowerment, ensuring students' learning through our classes. 

  • For Coaches: Coach Development Program (CDP)

They lead the CDP, which transforms novice teachers into effective educators. Through this program, they equip coaches with process-based facilitation skills of learning experiences and guide them in embodying the five coaching hats. A recent offshoot of this program empowers coaches to design effective learning experiences, building upon their existing facilitation skills.

Explain how your Team Lead and supporting team members are well-positioned to effectively support the LEAP Project, given other priorities within your organization. [200-500 words - recommended]

Since the Team Lead oversees the design and implementation of all learning solutions at TULA, the workload related to supporting the LEAP Project can easily be streamlined with existing work rhythms. Over the 12-week sprint, the Team Lead is ready to commit 2-4 hours of dedicated work each week. Through strategic time and energy management and alignment with the project's needs, they will ensure the provision of necessary support while fulfilling their other responsibilities as Head of Development.

In addition, they lead the Coach Development Program and Learning Experience Design Program. This presents an opportunity to train part-time coaches who have expressed their interest in assuming additional responsibilities beyond their current teaching load. In doing so, they get to earn extra income while upskilling themselves. By leveraging these existing programs, the Team Lead can harness the expertise and enthusiasm of the coaches, empowering them to contribute effectively to the LEAP Project.

The Team Lead can significantly impact the success of the LEAP Project by effectively and efficiently collaborating with already-existing tools and initiatives. Their knowledge and experience, along with the skills and abilities of the learning coaches, enable the delivery of favorable results for the LEAP Project and TULA as a whole.

Solution Details

One-line solution summary: In 20 words or less, summarize your organization's product or program that is the focus of your LEAP Project.

TULA bridges gaps in Philippine education through evidence-based design and process-oriented facilitation of accessible and affordable after-school online learning experiences.

Define the problem that your solution seeks to solve. [200-500 words recommended]

The Philippines continues to suffer from education inequality. According to a 2022 report by The World Bank, 9 out of 10 Filipino children cannot read by age 10. The problem is caused by a complex intersection of several issues: malnutrition, a shortage of teachers, an outdated curriculum, and a lack of infrastructure and resources. 

As such, we recognize the importance of collective efforts from all stakeholders in addressing this issue. Our specific contribution lies in our expertise in designing and facilitating after-school online learning experiences that merge academics and 21st-century character traits, attitudes, and skills that are not covered in a typical curriculum, thereby preparing Filipino students for the future of work.

Our solution will help bridge two gaps within the Philippine education system: holistic education and educator quality.

  • Gap 1: Holistic Education

The 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results shed light on this gap among Filipino students. A staggering 72% fear failure, while a mere 31% possess a growth mindset, one of the lowest figures among PISA-participating countries and economies. Furthermore, Filipino students ranked poorly in reading, mathematics, and science, falling near the bottom of the global scale. In contrast, students in other countries with a growth mindset exhibited better academic performance.

By focusing on holistic education, our solution intends to instill traits like grit, drive, resilience, a growth mindset, and collaboration while improving the literacy and numeracy skills of Filipino students. We want to prove that addressing their character and academic performance are not mutually exclusive. In fact, research has shown that character education advances academic achievement. Tackling both will enable them to navigate an ever-changing world successfully.

  • Gap 2: Educator Quality

In 2022, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) published a study that asserted low teacher qualification as a significant factor in students' low-quality education and poor performance. A team of researchers from the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) cited the same research and analyzed 12 years' worth of data from the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET). They juxtaposed it with other data points from the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd). The findings showed that only 56% of the schools offering teacher education had below-average passing rates, including those classified as a Center of Excellence or Center of Development. 

To tackle this gap, our solution aims to equip our educators with the necessary skills, routines, and processes that enable them to facilitate excellent and effective learning experiences that allow learners to reach their full potential and become successful members of society.

Essentially, our solution hopes to support two key stakeholders in education: the learners and the educators.

Describe your solution and how it works in simple terms. [200-500 words recommended]

TULA provides affordable and accessible 8-to-10-week online learning experiences to learners from public schools and low-cost private schools. The signature TULA learning experience is our Holistic Program because of its two components:

  1. Life Skills Club (LSC) - focused on character development
  2. Academic Boosters (AB) - focused on mastery of academic subjects, Math and English

We believe that for learners to enhance their character and academic performance, they must go through learning experiences made by intention and not chance. We ensure this by making our holistic program evidence-based by design and equipping our coaches with process-oriented facilitation skills, both supporting learner variability.

  • Gap1: Holistic Education --> Solution1: Evidence-based Design

In LSC, kids explore fun simulations of the real world and complete out-of-the-box projects. We want to prepare children for contextual variability, so we choose future-proof topics that are not usually taken up in school. For example, we implemented a 10-week program about learners choosing their potential career paths based on how much they've learned about themselves through Dr. Tasha Eurich's six pillars of self-awareness--a skill that is important across contexts and time. 


In AB, classes are made up of mixed-grade levels (e.g., a class of learners from grades 4 to 6) with varying strengths and areas of improvement, exhibiting within-group variability. At the start of each quarter, learners are given a diagnostic test to identify which learners need more scaffolding and which ones need more challenges. Each class thereafter is designed based on the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) Framework: modeled instruction, shared instruction, collaboration, and independent application. During the collaborative activity, learners work together to solve a problem. This was made by design such that the coach can leverage variability to improve learning for the entire group as students take on roles like the leader, recorder, and timekeeper. 


Meanwhile, learners answer as many problems as they can during independent application. Everyone follows the same instructions but answers different problems based on the results of the diagnostics (e.g., if learners score low, they will be given an easier problem to solve). This was also made by design to accelerate the learning of lower-performing students while simultaneously maintaining or accelerating the learning of higher-performing students as well. 


Moreover, learners develop their Math Mindsets based on the factors and strategies developed by the Learner Variability Project and YouCubed.

  •  Gap2: Educator Quality --> Solution2: Process-oriented Facilitation

On the flip side, we actively recruit aspiring educators with nontraditional backgrounds and provide them with an alternative pathway to education. We put them through a dynamic teacher apprenticeship program called the Coach Development Program (CDP). One of the skills that coaches learn from the CDP that helps them manage within-group variability is Think Time-No Opt Out. For instance, if learner X struggles to answer a problem, the coach facilitates the class through a process such that learner X gets the answer from another classmate.

See our coach feedback card on this skill:


Fundamentally, our solution is to orchestrate the design and facilitation of transformative learning experiences.

Select the key characteristics of your target population. Select all that apply.

  • Primary school children (ages 5-12)
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
  • Other

If you selected “other” please indicate which populations you serve.

In addition to primary school children, we also serve aspiring educators with nontraditional backgrounds and provide them with an alternative pathway to education.

In which country or countries does your solution currently operate?


Upload your solution's Theory of Change or Logic Model.

Where would you place your solution on Nesta's Standards of Evidence?

Level 2: You capture data that shows positive change, but you cannot confirm you caused this.

To date, what research/studies has your organization conducted that have helped demonstrate the effectiveness of your solution? [200-500 words recommended]

We acknowledge that our work at TULA providing holistic education and improving educator quality is not new. We are standing on the shoulders of giants who have done the research and proven effective ways to address both concerns. So, we conducted informal research to seek these evidence-based solutions to build our programs:

  • Holistic Program - based on groundbreaking work on character development (e.g., Angela Duckworth on Grit, Carol Dweck on Growth Mindset, Martin Seligman on Learned Optimism) and academic development (Harvard's Visible Thinking Routines, Math Mindsets by the Learner Variability Project, YouCubed & Jo Boaler, and the Gradual Release of Responsibility Framework by Fisher & Frey, 2006)
  • Coach Development Program - based on pioneering work in retooling content for online learning (Harvard's Usable Knowledge), social-emotional integration (CASEL), and instructional strategies (Teach Like a Champion and Match Education)

What is unique to TULA is how we've applied these solutions in the context we operate in:

  1. Online via Zoom and Google - outside of a formal learning management system, which means that we don't have advanced software for data collection.
  2. After-school learning - outside of the formal educational system, which means we don't spend as much time with the learners as in traditional schools. Typically, a learner attends the TULA Holistic Program between two to four hours a week.
  3. Low- and middle-income country (LMIC) - most, if not all, of these evidence-based solutions were proven in high-income countries like the United States. This is particularly relevant to the questions raised by The Jacobs Foundation in their research agenda: "To what extent are the social-emotional skills promoted in developed [sic] countries also conducive to learning in LMICs? What other skills (not currently studied in high-income countries) can help children to thrive in LMICs?"

On top of our context is the intricate interplay of the various evidence-based solutions because they come from different sources. Therefore, we wanted to demonstrate the effectiveness of how we've implemented these solutions in our context.

  • Holistic Program

We ensure that our assessment of learners is holistic through triangulation by collecting evidence from three sources:

  1. Products - we check their academic performance based on their progress in the workbooks.
  2. Observation - we observe how learners exhibit character traits or how they answer the workbooks.
  3. Conversation - we converse with learners to spot their attitudes based on their language (e.g., using "yet" shows having a growth mindset). We also check for their academic understanding by having them explain their thought process in reaching an answer. 

In 2016, we developed a matrix for character observation:


In 2021, we carried out informal desktop research on academic assessments to differentiate the reasons why we assess and choose the appropriate methodologies. By doing this, we removed redundancies and streamlined our data collection. 


We also seek feedback from coaches to improve our programs based on their ease of use and learners' enjoyment.

  • Coach Development Program - We run informal surveys with the parents ranging from mood meters to open-ended questions about their experience with TULA. 

What has the research/studies you have conducted revealed about your solution and how did it inform your work moving forward? [200-500 words recommended]

  • Holistic Program

Below is a sample report card detailing an actual learner's character development over the course of 8 weeks. While they improved in demonstrating respect, their mastery of the TULA Mindset went a step-down.

Report Card - Character Development

Meanwhile, here is a sample report card of another learner's academic performance. They improved in most topics, but they scored higher in the diagnostic test on Number Theory compared to their final score at the end of the quarter.

Report Card - Math Milestones

The assessments we execute reveal how we capture data that shows positive change, but we cannot confirm that we caused this.

  1. Did we bring about the improvements? 
  2. Did their parents or school bring about the improvements?
  3. Does their non-improvement mean our solution does not work?

This is in line with the research agenda of The Jacobs Foundation on within-person variability: Why do children show inconsistent behavior, skills, knowledge, and characteristics from one-time point to the next?  How do children’s characteristics, knowledge, and skills vary over time and at different ages? 

It is also worth noting that we experience the following challenges in our assessments:

  1. Some learners are not able to take the diagnostic and review because of absences
  2. Some learners have technical difficulties accessing the diagnostic and review workbook, so the supposed time to answer is spent on addressing these difficulties.
  3. We are not experts in designing assessments. 
  • Coach Development Program

We cannot prove that good parent feedback can be attributed to the CDP. However, they show anecdotal evidence of the quality of our coaches. There are some rare instances where we get constructive feedback about our coaches, and we use the CDP as a way to address the parent's concerns. For instance, a parent once gave us feedback about a class not ending on time. We observed the class of the coach the first chance we got and gave them feedback on pacing. Ideally, though, we want to get to a place where we can catch these things more proactively rather than reactively. 

Despite the limitations in measuring the effectiveness of implementing our solutions, we continue to use the same methodologies in the interim. We view the results more as a guide rather than conclusive. 

LEAP Project Details

Describe your organization's need to strengthen the evidence base of your solution. [200-500 words recommended]

Strengthening the evidence base of our solution will bring us closer to our vision of reaching more learners from different socio-economic backgrounds and providing them with high-quality, affordable, and accessible learning experiences led by passionate transformational educators. We can only do this if we know that our solution through online learning is still a viable option to supplement in-school learning now that we live in a post-pandemic world. 

It will also help us improve how we design and facilitate these learning experiences that address and embrace within-group variability in our classes. This circumstance is true for all educational institutions, especially public schools in the Philippines, where classes can reach up to a maximum of 50 students and learners still do asynchronous online learning until now. 

By engaging in this LEAP Project, there is potential to come up with Contextualized and Generalizable Research that can benefit not only our organization but also other online learning programs. 

Now is also the right time for us to engage in a LEAP Project because:

  1. We have recruited more learning coaches
  2. We have trained more coaches to support the design of learning experiences
  3. We have promoted two new coaches to lead the design of learning experiences
  4. We are ready to invest more in our ad spend to reach more learners and parents

What are 2-3 research questions that you would like your LEAP Project to help you answer? [100 words recommended]

  1. What is the impact of the Coach Development Program on meeting learning outcomes?
  2. Contextual variability: How effective is our Holistic Program in developing key character traits in our learners?
  3. Within-group variability: How effective is the design of our Holistic Program and the CDP in accelerating lower-performing students while simultaneously maintaining or accelerating the learning of higher-performing students, and accommodating individual learners' needs while taking advantage of learning variability to improve learning for the entire group? 

What type of research/studies do you think will help answer your stated questions? Select all that apply.

  • Formative research (e.g. usability studies; feasibility studies; case studies; user interviews; implementation studies; pre-post or multi-measure research; correlational studies)
  • Summative research (e.g. correlational studies; quasi-experimental studies; randomized control studies)

Please elaborate on your selection above by describing your desired outputs of the 12-week LEAP Project sprint. [200 - 500 words recommended]

  • Research question 1: What is the impact of the Coach Development Program on meeting learning outcomes? 
    • Output: Framework to measure the impact of the CDP on learning coaches and learners after the first phase of training (after five weeks) and after the second phase of training (after six months)
  • Research question 2: How effective is our Holistic Program in developing key character traits in our learners?
    • Output:  Framework to measure the impact on learners in the short-term (two months), mid-term (four to six months), and long-term (more than a year). 
  • Research question 3: How effective is the design of our Holistic Program and the CDP in accelerating lower-performing students while simultaneously maintaining or accelerating the learning of higher-performing students, and accommodating individual learners' needs while taking advantage of learning variability to improve learning for the entire group? 
    • Output: We already have evidence-based solutions we execute, so we can benefit from measuring the fidelity of our implementation and identifying what mechanisms, in the TULA context, actually lead to learning. Then, instead of a new framework, recommendations to bridge the gaps in our implementation will be very helpful.

That said, we acknowledge that we are not experts, so we are very much open to hearing what the Fellows think about the research questions and output that make the most sense within the given timeline.

However, while we understand that there are existing measurement tools elsewhere, we might not benefit from a literature review because we have limitations to our context as mentioned previously. we humbly request that the outputs follow the principles of a lean data mindset: 

  • Online - we appreciate outputs that do not require heavy data collection.
  • After-school learning - we appreciate outputs that we can quickly execute because of the transient nature of our learners. There remains the possibility of learners leaving after two months. As such, we need to be able to showcase growth to the parents right after a program.
  • In a low- and middle-income country - we appreciate outputs that are not costly and can easily be replicated and scaled.

We look forward to working with the Fellows on the 12-week LEAP Project sprint.

How will your organization put these outputs into action? [200-500 words recommended]

We will definitely use the frameworks and guidelines to measure the impact of our Holistic Program on our learners and the Coach Development Program on our coaches. We are also happy to share these with public schools that still facilitate asynchronous online learning. Meanwhile, the findings of the implementation fidelity will help us enhance how we design and implement our programs. By doing these, we hope to be able to showcase our proof of concept more clearly and be in a better position to partner with organizations.

Describe your desired short-term and long-term outcomes of the 12-week LEAP Project sprint for both your organization and solution. [200-500 words recommended]

Ultimately, we hope that the 12-week LEAP Project sprint will guide us toward our north star of reinventing learning to help learners and educators reach their full potential.
  • Short-term Outcomes (3 to 5 months )
    1. Improved design and implementation of the Holistic Program that aligns with what mechanisms actually lead to learning.
    2. Improved design and implementation of the Coch Development Program that aligns with what mechanisms actually lead to learning.
  • Short-term Outcomes (6-11 months)
    1. Increase in learner enrolment and reach 250 to 300 learners.
    2. Increase in learner retention by 50%
    3. Increase coach recruitment and retention - at least 25 coaches.
  • Long-term Outcomes (12 months and up)
    1. Learners improve their character and academic performance to adapt and thrive in different environments across contexts and time.
    2. Coaches build mastery at designing evidence-based learning experiences with process-oriented facilitation skills

Solution Team

  • Genica Bucao Head of Development, TULA Philippines
  • Elise Zulueta Chief Operations Officer & Co-Founder, TULA Philippines
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