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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Understanding Learner Variability | T.H.E. Journal

"Given that learner variability is part of each student, figuring out how to meet the needs of each learner requires tailored "educational experiences, interventions and assessments." Those connections will in turn help change the design of classrooms and instruction" notes Dian Schaffhauser, senior contributing editor.

Photo: T.H.E. Journal
Digital Promise wants to educate people about "learner variability." To that end, the organization recently published a paper to explain the concept and direct people to the use of the resources it has available through its Learner Positioning System (LPS) initiative.

Digital Promise is a nonprofit funded by government and numerous foundations and focused on spurring innovation in education to improve learning. LPS is a free, open-source, online tool for teachers and education technology developers that links the latest learning sciences research to practice to help both sets of constituents address learner variability.

In six concise pages "Learner variability Is the Rule, Not the Exception" describes how all students — those struggling as well as those thriving — differ in ways that "matter for learning," as learning scientists are discovering.

"Learner variability is the young person who lives in poverty or is learning to speak English and may not yet have the background knowledge to enable comprehension of a reading passage. Or, the student who already has the skills to excel at a pace beyond the curriculum and is bored because traditional methods of instruction do not engage her or meet her needs," the report stated. "It's the learner with working memory, decoding, or attention challenges who retreats into silence or acts unruly out of fear they will be asked a question they are not yet ready to answer. It also defines the student who excels at classwork but is devastated socially and emotionally in school."...

The LPS initiative is intended for the benefit of educators, researchers and ed tech developers. The idea is to translate learning sciences research into factors to be addressed in supporting diverse learners in the classroom or product design and strategies for doing so. The factors and strategies are combined into learner models. Currently, three models exist: for pre-K-2 math, pre-K-3 reading and 4-6 literacy. The organization is also developing new models for 3-6 and 7-8 math...

The report is openly available on the Digital Promise website.

Source: T.H.E. Journal