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Applying Differentiated Learning Strategies Online
by Sally Millermon - Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 5:46 PM
 

Differentiated Learning (DI) happens when teachers proactively plan for the needs of diverse learners in order to increase learning. To me, it means anticipating future problems or needs of learners and then addressing those needs in order to promote learning.

I would like to explore different ways we could incorporate differentiated learning strategies into our online classrooms. How does being online affect our use of these strategies?  How would we address adult learners vs. K-12 learners?

 One way of using DI online is when instructors anticipate the need for tutorials and then provide those tutorials whether it be content related or how to use the technology.

Reference:

What is Differentiated Instruction? http://www.sde.com/di/what.asp

Sally in Wisconsin

 
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Re: Applying Differentiated Learning Strategies Online
by Sally Millermon - Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 9:03 PM
 

To clarify: Read What is Differentiated Instruction? from http://www.sde.com/di/what.asp. Take a closer look at the graphic on Responsive Mindset included in the article and pick one of the "spokes" and how it could be applied to differentiate instruction online.

Another good resource for definitions of differentiation strategies is http://toolsfordifferentiation.pbworks.com/w/browse/#view=ViewFolder&param=Strategy%20Resources.
There is also a site listed in our Module 1 Readings if you want to go deeper.

Sally in Wisconsin 

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Re: Applying Differentiated Learning Strategies Online
by Judith Wisniewski - Thursday, March 21, 2013, 12:30 PM
 

"There is also a site listed in our Module 1 Readings if you want to go deeper."

Sorry I missed this the first time around,

Judi in Charleston, SC

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Re: Applying Differentiated Learning Strategies Online
by Victoria Thornley - Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 7:21 PM
 

Hi Sally,

I think you could create 'Learning Centers/Stations' onlilne and have student work through the stations. You could incorporate the layered curriculum tool so that the student received a grade based on how he/she progressed through the stations.  So, one station might be vocabulary (in my case, medical terminology), another station concept (patient symptoms, disease progression, treatments) and another station applications ( medical and nursing interventions).  The student who could just recognize the terminology would be the "C" group, those who could associate the terminology with a concept would be the "B" group and those who could put it all together and recognize the correct action to take to intervene the "A" group.  Needs a lot of work but I can see the value in working within the differentiated learning context.  Very interesting and thanks for presenting.

Vicki in Texas

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Re: Applying Differentiated Learning Strategies Online
by Sally Millermon - Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:22 PM
 

Vicki,

Thanks for your insight. I’ve seen physical learning centers/stations used in the elementary grades as a practice tool for writing, math and spelling among other subjects. I like how you’ve applied it to online adult education and added in the layered curriculum element. Would you just use it as an assessment tool or would you use it in other ways as well?

Sally in Wisconsin

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Re: Applying Differentiated Learning Strategies Online
by Victoria Thornley - Thursday, March 21, 2013, 6:35 PM
 

Hi Sally,

Now that I look back at it, we actually use learning stations in our skill labs as the student learn things like starting IVs or changing dressings.  I just didn't recognize it in the non-nursing education arena.  We don't used the layered element as the student is either 'proficient' at the skill, or not.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I can see an application for the layered curriculum element in our course work that would allow our students to get at least the basic requirements but provide our faster learners with more challenging information. I'll have to ponder that!

Vicki in Texas

Picture of Judith Wisniewski
Re: Applying Differentiated Learning Strategies Online
by Judith Wisniewski - Thursday, March 21, 2013, 12:33 PM
 

Hello Sally:

I was not familiar with this term, so thank you for the link and additional reading material. Since I have never worked as a K-12 instructor, nor am I certified, the closest thing to this concept in my adult ed world is "Just in Time Training", which is not the same thing. But the goal of being ready for a particulat learner's needs seems to fit.

When I looked at the map of DI components, the one that caught my eye was Learner Profile. I do not know how this usually plays out in K-12, but it would certainly help me as an adult learner in this online course, if I took some sort of learning and/or personality style quick screen assessment in the first week.

Armed with this information, I could be presented with a menu of activities (all covering the same objective) for the unit coded to each learning style, to choose from. Or, I could be presented with an audio lecture, vs. a pdf vs. a video of the same reading or readings making the same point, etc.

I appreciate that we get variety: audio, pdf and video and color coded overviews. But it if were a bit more personalized, I would value that.

What prompted my response is that I have taught online for a while and am enrolled in this course and one other. Yet, I am not a huge fan of Discussion Boards. I do not think students gain the same skills as face to face students in the same course and I think it stacks the deck for some students and penalizes others.

In my online design classes (as instructor), we used them to document the progression work and to critique, which was great. But many of these same students literally skipped posting anything at all on the reflection Discussion Boards and took a lowered grade. As the instructor for these classes, I was required to answer each and every post within 24 hours and students who did not log on at least 5 out of 7 days were contacted by an advisor. So it was not for lack of trying. Students also had 24/7 access to online tutors.

I am hoping when I complete all of the readings about good question crafting in this Module, I will learn what I am lacking and change my mind on this.

Judi in Charleston, SC

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Re: Applying Differentiated Learning Strategies Online
by Judith Wisniewski - Thursday, March 21, 2013, 12:44 PM
 

This tidbit caught my eye from Victoria's post (in regard to students' time spent with different media):

• under 5,000 hours reading (Bonamici et al. 2005).

If the Discussion Board questions to the students are based on having to read something, this would explain it, I guess.

Judi in Charleston, SC

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Re: Applying Differentiated Learning Strategies Online
by Sally Millermon - Thursday, March 21, 2013, 11:43 PM
 

Judi,

I’ve found that learner profiles can be viewed in many different ways. They can be related to the five senses and the learner’s preferences for reading, writing, hearing, or moving and doing. At other times they are related to the learner’s cognitive ability: challenged, average, and gifted. Then there are emotional intelligences, personality types and strengths which are all different ways to express learner profiles. I think planning to use a variety of methods that address many different learning styles and preferences is just a part of best practice. Vicki’s article mentioned how some learners are more comfortable with technology that others—yet another learner profile: digital natives versus digital immigrants.

My take on students skipping the reflection discussion boards in your class is that those discussion boards may be perceived as being too personal to share online.  Some people just prefer to be more private than others and if they feel really uncomfortable about sharing, they choose a lower grade over exposing their thoughts online. Another possibility may be they are feeling overwhelmed with all the other required participation on discussion boards and thus, choose not to participate in some of them.  Do the students have to do extra reading in order to comment on the reflection board discussions?  There may be more to why they are not responding than just a reading issue—maybe you could do an anonymous survey at the end of the course to dig deeper? I hope these ideas and suggestions prove helpful.

Sally in Wisconsin

Picture of Judith Wisniewski
Re: Applying Differentiated Learning Strategies Online
by Judith Wisniewski - Saturday, March 23, 2013, 9:10 PM
 

Sally,

Thank you for your insights.

I do not think it was a matter of getting too personal. The students had a choice of questions (dictated by the Dept.) to answer, and they had more to do with applying the unit's material to a scenario than anything else.

Knowing about this particular school and population, I would guess that it was more of a time management issue.

Regarding an anonymous survey, in this (college) system, that was all handled at the dept., program, college and system level. It was a bit disconcerting that this was out of the instructor's hands, but it was.

Judi in Charleston, SC

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