banner-students-learning-medium The goal of a skilled instructor is to engage every student in the classroom, whether traditional or online, in the learning process. While institutions often focus on supporting learners with additional challenges, advanced students may also require additional support to stay engaged and actively involved in the learning process. These students may have been identified as gifted during primary or secondary education, and can also have learning or social challenges of their own, in some cases. Offering educational support not only engages these students, but also involves them in the learning process. As active members of the class, they can help to support other learners, and receive the more in-depth instruction they desire. In addition, some of these students may be struggling with the transition from being something special to just another student in a large institution, or you may have students who have entered college early to meet their educational needs.

Differentiating Education for High-Achieving Learners

There is a distinct advantage here for instructors; many gifted students are already effective independent learners and skilled researchers. YuJa makes it easy for instructors, even in a large class, to provide varied work to meet the needs of high-achieving students. Some institutions may already meet the special needs of these learners, for instance, by limiting required courses; however, most colleges and universities require a range of core classes to produce a well-balanced learner and to encourage students to explore different interests. Differentiated instruction provides all of your students with the learning opportunities they need, but can be especially helpful for advanced learners. According to Lightweis, “The three general principles of differentiated instruction are challenging (respectful) tasks, flexible groupings, and ongoing assessments, with results allowing for adjustments to instruction.” Differentiating classroom instruction enables you to meet the needs of every student, including your high-achieving and gifted students. YuJa makes it easy to differentiate instruction for your students, offering additional challenges to students with a higher level of readiness for the class or students with higher levels of ability. You can enable students to work together in-person or online using the tools at YuJa.
  • Group students by ability level. Considerations for grouping might include GPA, major, or the results of an initial pre-test. Create a YuJa quiz as a pre-test for a simple solution with automated scoring.
  • Assign differentiated assignments to students, or offer a variety of different assignment options. For instance, students could be offered the option of a PowerPoint presentation, an essay, a poster, or a video project.
  • Break up classroom projects into different portions to allow students to focus on their strengths. Assign high achieving groups research tasks to increase their interest level.

Building Skills for High Achievers

YuJa does more than simplify the process of offering differentiated assignments. It also enables students to engage and interact, building new skills and maximizing the educational experience. As noted, some high-achieving students, while successful academically, may struggle with social engagement or have their own learning challenges.
  • Real-time discussions enable in-depth conversation about class topics, enabling students who may be less likely to speak up in class to engage online.
  • Autocaptioning offers a readable and searchable transcript, facilitating learning for students who do best with visual, rather than auditory learning.
  • Anxious students may find video presentations less problematic than in-person presentations.

Flick, A. “When Seeking a Great College Fit, Gifted Students Have Additional Considerations.” Davidson Institute for Talent Development. Web. Accessed on 16 December 2015. Lightweis, Susan K. “College Success: A Fresh Look at Differentiated Instruction.” College Quarterly. Web. Accessed on 16 December 2015.