It is an understatement to say that we have diversity in our schools. In any given class, you will find students who are identified as gifted and talented, students who have special education needs and students who don’t have special classifications but who are miles apart in educational background and ability. Using web-based instruction can help a diverse classroom meet the needs of all of its students, even classrooms who serve students at different grade levels. Here is how web-based instruction can help: Students can often take pre-tests that identify strengths and weaknesses.

The program will then focus on the areas that the student needs to remediate and focus on in order to pass the class. Students who already know parts of the material will not have to repeat it. High standards are built in. Many students have become accustomed to turning in work that they know is substandard. This work, in turn, gets a failing grade, and the student has learned very little. Web-based learning requires that a student meet a specific standard before moving on to the next level. The administrator of the program or teacher can set the standard.

A common one is that the student must show 85 percent competency before moving on to the next lesson. Web-based instruction has come a long way in the past five years. Today, your students can participate in online instruction that incorporates many types of media. Students can listen to lectures, watch videos and see photos that relate to the topic being studied. The typical web-based lesson incorporates far more media than is found in the traditional classroom. Online programs can teach study skills. Many have applications included that make it easy for students to type notes as they work through a tutorial, for example.

Also, since tests that are retaken typically have completely different question sets, students learn to focus on the overall content of the material, rather than a set of discrete facts. Students who struggle with attention disorders, such as Attention Deficit Disorder, often find that they have an increased ability to focus when working on a web-based program. Wearing the headphones that are often used with such programs further decreases distractions.

Online instructional assignments can easily be reduced or modified for students with special education needs. Since most programs offer many different levels of instruction, the instructor can easily find the appropriate level by administering the pretest for the level that the student’s paperwork indicates he is functioning at. Students who are in multi-grade classes can also all work on one subject at different levels as well. Students who are behind in coursework, but who are self-motivated, can use self-paced online instruction to either catch up to their peers or to gain credits to graduate in a timely manner.

Many online instructional programs are used for this exact purpose in credit recovery programs. As web-based instruction continues to develop, students will most likely have more and more options for learning at their own level, in their own unique way. The development of this technology is something that every educator should keep a close eye on, and be ready to implement in their classroom should the opportunity arise.