Setting Instructional Outcomes for Diverse Learners

Instructor: Christine Serva

Christine is an instructional designer, educator, and writer with a particular interest in the social sciences and American studies.

In this lesson, you'll find out what is meant by the term diverse learners and how to differentiate instruction to meet a variety of needs. You'll learn how to make sure all students absorb the material they're given.

On Track, Struggling, or Bored?

A 12th grade language arts teacher named Pete has noticed that a good portion of his class is on track with the instructional outcomes he has set for them. They're doing well on activities and assessments but still face moments where he knows they have to push themselves - in a good way.

He's really proud of giving instruction that has the right level of challenge for the majority of students. Nice job, Pete!

Yet, there's a catch: he also has a set of students who are struggling with the material, and a set of students are bored with it. Assessments show some students are acing the material while others haven't even grasped the basics from the first week of class.

What should Pete do? In this lesson, you'll find out how Pete deals with this conundrum by setting instructional methods and outcomes that will meet the needs of diverse learners.

Who are Diverse Learners?

Pete's class is a good example of how every group of students is made up of diverse learners. His class includes students with a variety of different skill levels, interests, previous knowledge, needs, learning styles, talents, and abilities.

Diverse learners are not just those who need extra help or those who fly ahead of the rest of the class. Diversity can be found in how a student learns best and their passions for certain topics, in addition to their natural abilities and challenges.


Let's look at how Pete can begin to differentiate his teaching so that all students in his class grow from the experience. In other words, he will design methods that teach the same material while using strategies that will work well for students of different learning styles or needs. He needs to make sure that the outcomes are appropriate for everyone in the class. He may need to adjust the outcome, particularly if it specifies how the student should demonstrate knowledge, which may not cater to different learning styles.

Sound like a tough job? This definitely can take time. Pete's ready to tackle the problem.

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