Differentiating instruction is widely recognized as a key to student success. To differentiate, it is essential to give students choices. One of the choices is to learn in a face-to-face classroom or to learn online. In addition, whether it is face-to-face or online, it is beneficial to give students choices in terms of both the process and product of learning. For example, you might give students different resources from which to learn, such as by reading, watching video, listening to audio, doing hands-on learning, or talking with experts. You might also let them choose the product they create both to guide their learning and to show what they have learned. They might write a report or produce a web site. They might take a test or make a presentation and answer questions. There are many options to consider. At some grade levels, you might even have students design their own learning processes.
Here is a summary of research on some other ways to differentiate instruction. Many of these can be incorporated into your online course.
- Differentiated Instruction from Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, public domain
- Differentiating Instruction from ASCD, all rights reserved
- What is Differentiated Instruction?, from Reading Rockets
Technology Tips for Differentiated Instruction from WestEd RTEC
The School of Ed also has a whole course on differentiated instruction with lots more information on this topic.