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 will explore the frontiers of learning and rigorously test and further develop promising approaches. We will codify best practices in teaching and school management, and systematically support schools, authorities, companies, and other education providers in applying these best practices.
We promote evidence-informed education programs that are sustainable at scale, in an effort to empower learning systems in low–, middle–, and high–resource contexts. Through these efforts, we aim to provide children with the knowledge, skills, tools, and equitable opportunities they need to reach their full learning potential and fulfill their aspirations.