Tag Archives: differ

Differentiation in Online Learning-Captain

I tried several different Google searches using “differentiation in online instruction” paired with “communication” and with “self-advocacy” and did not get any satisfactory results.  Most results were similar to information we’ve already covered regarding the best practice of communication.  Once I switched to “differentiation strategies in online environments” I found:


I settled on this one because of the following information:

#4 Differentiate Instruction Through Online Work

In a blended learning classroom, there is often online work that needs to occur. This might be a module on specific content, formative assessments, and the like. However, students may or may not need to do all the work that is in a specific module. In an effort to individualize instruction, use the online work to meet individual students needs. Whether an extension of learning, or work to clarify a misconception, the work that occurs online can be more valuable to students when it is targeted. Students are no longer engaged in uninteresting busy work, but focused, individualized learning.

I really wasn’t all that impressed with the results that I found and did not uncover any information that wasn’t presented in the readings for this week.  I am interested to see what others came up with.

There are lots of similarities in differentiation in online instruction and face-to-face instruction.  Content can be given in multiple ways (text, audio, video) and various assessments can be used in both formats.  Teachers can offer students a variety of choices to access materials and cues for prompting in both formats.

The main difference in differentiation strategies with online learning and face-to-face is in the technology used to present material.  Students need to be able to navigate the learning module and access all content areas.  I think minimizing distractions and making the learning module as streamlined as possible is very important.  While I found the Universal Design for Learning website interesting my initial reaction was that the print was very tiny and they had A LOT of information crammed into one space.  I also had to do a fair amount of clicking to check out all the different options and then retrace my steps which I found a little overwhelming.  The checkpoints I was initially drawn to were optimizing motivation, facilitating coping skills, support planning and strategy, and support memory and transfer.  I was excited to see the Quizlet resource there because it was something I recognized our teachers often using and a resource that I advise students to access when we are doing academic counseling.

Another difference is in student discussion and face-to-face participation.  You cannot recreate this in an online environment.  Students can provide answers to discussion questions online and even participate in real time chats with each other, but a question and answer or lively discussion conversation after reading a poem or conducting a science experiment is only possible in a traditional classroom.

I plan to use differentiation in my module by varying how content is presented.  Since my module is a hybrid, this variation will occur face-to-face and through Schoology.  I am going to use videos to deliver content and act as conversation starters.  Theses conversations will occur face-to-face and also through discussion posts online.  I am also planning to incorporate a study skills work book for written content and have the students engage in interactive role play and group discussions.