Introducing the Navigator Toolkit

Our Navigator Toolkit consists of evidence-based resources and activities that highlight learning mindset supportive practices.

Supporting Advisors

The toolkit is designed to support postsecondary advisors in identifying ways to implement growth mindset, purpose and relevance, or sense of belonging practices into their programming. Advisors are individuals who provide intensive support to students in navigating their postsecondary options, developing their learning mindsets, exploring their college and career interest, and navigating the admission and financial aid application process.

Resources are added to the toolkit regularly as practices from high-quality research are identified. We welcome suggestions and submissions of case studies to be included in future toolkit updates and comments or questions. Please email Terra Browne,

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Using the Navigator Toolkit

The resources available in the toolkit are organized and filterable in terms of the following:

Learning Mindset (Mindset GPS)

Identify your learning mindset interest: growth mindset, purpose and relevance, or sense of belonging. Consider your personal, program, organization, or school priorities and goals and if any of those priorities or goals are aligned with Mindset GPS.


Growth Mindset

The belief that intelligence can be developed through hard work, use of effective strategies, and help from others when needed.


Purpose & Relevance

The belief that schoolwork is valuable because it is connected to a larger purpose and/or relevant to one’s life.


Sense of Belonging

The belief that one is academically and socially connected, supported, and respected.

Understanding our Rating

example evidence strength graphic

Evidence Strength:

We considered evidence-based practices that are likely beneficial based on existing research. When determining the evidence strength of a resource, the following was taken into consideration:

  • Theoretical Alignment
    • We determined if the articles referenced in the resources were grounded in an established motivational theory.
  • Resource – Research Alignment 
    • We identified if the articles referenced within the resources contained evidence-based practices. 
  • Evidence Quality
    • We considered the following when evaluating the quality of research within our resources:
      • rigor of the research referenced
      • the number of studies referenced 
      • peer reviews 
      • if the research was conducted in real-world classroom settings or lab settings
      • if the research target population included historically underserved students, especially Black and Latine students, first-generation students, and students from low-income backgrounds
example evidence strength graphic

Implementation Time:

The cost of implementation considers the amount of time it takes to understand a resource and the amount of time it takes to implement it. 

  • Low Rating – resources that take no more than 15 minutes to understand and less than an hour to implement. These resources typically focus on information sharing. 
  • Medium Rating – resources fall within the 15 to 30-minute range to understand. These resources take 1-2 hours to implement and include lessons, activities, or protocols that can be replicated. 
  • High Rating – resources range in length of time to understand. Resources take two or more hours to implement and are typically lessons, activities, or protocols that require some adaptation before implementation or spark additional content creation on the user’s part. The time it takes to implement a resource is given more weight for high-rated resources.

Effectively Using the Toolkit

  1. Use your professional judgment: The toolkit provides evidence-based resources on implementing learning mindset supportive practices in a particular setting, many of which occur in the classroom. In your program, organization, or school, it is crucial to consider the needs of the students you serve and any barriers they might face before adopting or adapting an approach. 
  2. Consider adapting practices to your context: Many of the resources in our toolkit are on teaching and learning with learning mindsets within a K-12 classroom setting, and address the shift made to online and distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider adapting practices to your content. Examples of adaptations include the length of time, virtual settings; 1:1 advising; small group advising; redefining or incorporating accountability measures that look different than traditional K-12 classroom space; workshop style; shortening activities or lesson plans.
  3. Reflect on your implementation of resources: Adapting and implementing these resources is an opportunity for our network and the postsecondary advising field. Considering sharing your best practices and experiences with implementing resources from the Navigator Toolkit so we can continue to improve practices for advising practitioners. 
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This repository of resources was generated with support from:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation