Learning should be fluid not compartmentalised into blocks or units that can be ticked off as they are covered. For learners to meet their potential, they should have the confidence to know: their strengths and weaknesses are acknowledged and catered for; when they face a barrier, they know that a coach will help them find a door to overcome it; when they are faced with something new, they know how to use their prior learning to make sense of the new and make it familiar.
In a classroom, this does happen but is amazingly difficult. Some classes have greater thirty learners with very diverse needs and abilities. There are teachers who have their finger on the pulse and alter instruction, practice, assessment and feedback when needed. However, there are other teachers who are either: new, and haven’t the knowledge base to support such a range; lacking in passion or drive and are looking only to tick boxes and collect a paycheck; toward the end of their career and either too tired to devote the needed energy or too stuck in their ways to keep up with new strategies to support or unaware of the challenges facing learners today; challenges that were not present 10 years ago or even more recently.
With an online platform, this individual learning progression is still difficult because, although the time given to each learning outcome can be extended or shortened, the order of progression is still largely fixed. A program will, after successful completion of a piece of learning, suggest next steps for learners but this is often the same next steps that are suggested to every learner of the program. The upside of this form of practice is that learners can repeat the practice again and again until they feel comfortable and confident about moving on. This is not the same as instruction.
Learners need informed guides who can see where they are now, where they were in the past and where they are headed next. Teachers do that but parents, or other adults who can devote time to more of a 1 on 1 relationship can do far more. It is this tailored approach that will allow all to fill the gaps in their learning and pass what the average learner can. This approach would allow all learners to meet their potential.
Who knows what that is?