All of us, children and adults alike, have strengths and weaknesses in how we best learn. In a perfect world, all learners would have the ability to leverage their strengths and learn in whatever way works best for them. However we know that this is not always the case. In addition to the 20% of learners who are identified as having special educational needs, roughly one-third of students best learn in a way that does not match how most schools are set up to teach.

The Friday Institute’s Professional Learning and Leadership Collaborative has created a series of learning opportunities designed to build educator capacity to address diverse learning needs across the educational system. We have designed online and blended learning programs designed for students, teachers, instructional coaches, principals, and higher education faculty/staff. For more details, see the links and information below.

The Learning Differences MOOC-Ed

Who: Teachers, instructional coaches, and other educators

What: The Learning Differences Massive Open Online Course for Educators (MOOC-Ed) was the first learning opportunity the PLLC created. It targets classroom teachers but can apply to a wide range of educators including instructional coaches, principals, and even parents of students who may have learning differences. The course introduces the idea of learner variability and then digs in more deeply into three specific ways our learning differs: working memory, executive functioning skills, and learning motivation. Teachers identify one or more students and then build a plan to best meet their learning needs and leverage their strengths. Those who complete the course requirements will receive a certificate of completion for 25 hours of professional development and will have the opportunity to learn up to 6 micro-credentials!

In addition, the course has an optional coaches track for instructional coaches planning or wishing to bring the learning differences concepts to their teachers. Coaches who complete this component can earn a certificate for an additional 5 hours of professional development. Learn more.

When: The Learning Differences MOOC-Ed is offered roughly once per year. Sign up for our newsletter to be sure you don’t miss it!

Students LEAD (Learn, Explore, and Advocate Differently)

Who: Students aged 13–22 (middle/high school through college)

What: Students LEAD is built on the premise that in order for students to succeed in and outside of school they must understand their own learning and have concrete strategies they can use to support their learning and advocate for themselves in the future. The course is self-guided and any student can sign up and take the course at any time.

Educators who want to partner with individual students or entire classes can also sign up and get access to lesson plans, conversation starters, and more ideas for using this content with their students. Learn more.

When: Students LEAD is always open. If you’re a student, you can sign up here. Teachers can register here.

Learning Differences and Learner Positioning System

Who: Educators

What: The Learning Differences micro-credentials are one way educators can get credit for using practices that meet the needs of diverse learners. These micro-credentials align with the constructs outlined in Digital Promise Global’s Learner Positioning System (LPS) initiative. Rather than going through a formal class or professional development, the micro-credentials allow educators to learn about these concepts in any way that works for them and then demonstrate that they’ve used the concepts in practice with a student or group of students. Learn more.

When: Anytime!