Students enter school with a vast range of individual differences in cognitive, emotional, and social skills, which together determine how well and how quickly they will learn. Because variability in learning emerges early on, we focus on understanding learning differences during the early years and the transition to primary education. However, it is not only at the start of school that students differ in their learning. Throughout the grades, teachers are confronted with diverse needs, which constantly change as students develop over time.
In the face of radical societal transformations, learning settings and educational systems throughout the world often fail to foster children’s individual learning potential. Teaching methods and tools vary greatly, depending on such factors as a country’s resources and teacher training system, among others. In a high-resource context like Switzerland, the public education system is quite effective at strengthening basic cognitive skills, but often falls short when it comes to accommodating individual learners’ needs. In low-resource settings such as Côte d’Ivoire, tailoring instruction to individual differences seems to be the most effective approach for increasing overall student performance, as demonstrated by one of our most successful programs, run by Teaching at the Right Level (TarL).
With our focus on Learning Schools, we support schools to succeed by generating and applying evidence, and by sharing best practices. Working with private and public schools and researchers, both globally and locally, we explore the frontiers of learning and rigorously test and further develop promising approaches. We codify best practices in teaching and school management, and systematically support schools, authorities, companies, and other education providers in applying these best practices.
Our goal is to foster a global schools system that facilitates the generation and dissemination of research and best practices, strengthens knowledge exchange between schools within and across school networks and countries, and uses evidence in decision-making about the uptake of innovations and technology to fully harness variability in learning.
By 2030, we aim to reach 10% of the world`s schools – approximately 500,000 institutions – by supporting a strengthened community of school leaders who learn, collaborate, and leverage resources in order to mainstream the use of evidence-informed practices.
The Learning Schools portfolio consists of three inter-connected programs implemented globally and in several target geographies: School Evidence for Adaptive Learning (SEAL) to strengthen the generation and use of rigorous scientific evidence by school practitioners; the School Knowledge and Innovation Learning Lab (SKILL) to identify, codify, and disseminate evidence-informed school innovations; Scientific Capital (SciCap) to promote evidence-informed decisions among EdTech investors, policymakers, and customers.