Research Agenda

Advancing research on learning variability

Our Strategy 2030 is underpinned by an ambitious Research Agenda designed to advance our scientific understanding of learning variability.

Teacher is sitting at the table in her classroom with a primary school student
New Research Agenda

Childhood is full of variability. Children vary day-to-day in their skills and behaviors. They differ from their peers. They also live and learn in different environments and have varying levels of opportunity. Yet education often provides one-size-fits-all instruction aimed at the average student, with little regard for variability.

We believe that education systems that embrace learning variability are better able to provide all children with a quality education that gives them the best chance of succeeding in life. However, research has not yet fully established the causes and types of learning variability or how best to address them.

Going forward we will work to expand on this research agenda to explore questions of relevance to practitioners and policymakers.
Simon Sommer, Co-CEO
Simon Sommer, Co-CEO
A pyramid of children playing sport, making music and working on a computer

At the core of the Research Agenda is our support for talented researchers and practitioners who can advance scientific understanding of the issue, and enhance our ability to sustainably improve education systems.

This includes funding for the Jacobs Foundation Research Fellows program, a biannual research conference, and a series of published research papers based around the transformative questions posed by our agenda.

In the process we are creating a global, multidisciplinary research community, and catalyzing debate and action among researchers, policymakers, and educators that can be implemented to improve children’s learning and development.

Our Research Agenda thumbnail. Click to view 2MB PDF

Read our research agenda

Advancing Research on Learning Variability Research Agenda

White paper

The White Paper describes the Jacobs Foundation Research Agenda on learning variability developed in consultation with more than 50 experts to guide and inspire the field.

Advancing Research on Learning Variability Research Agenda

Presentation slides PDF

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White paper for researchers

The technical White Paper is aimed at researchers detailing a set of guiding research themes and questions on learning variability within children, within groups, and between contexts, to inspire collaboration in the research community. 

Advancing Research on Learning Variability Research Agenda

Presentation slides PDF for researchers

To cite this white paper, please use the following format

“Jacobs Foundation White Paper (2023). Advancing Research on Learning Variability. Research Agenda. Compiled by Tsang JM, Fetz-Fernandes G and Cubillo A. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.7753301″