Differentiation for Learning

Improve your teaching by developing how you provide differentiated learning opportunities for all your students.

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Differentiation for Learning

Learn effective differentiation for learning to enable all students to progress

Every student is different, entering classrooms with varying ideas and understanding. This course will help you improve your understanding and use of differentiating for learning for both primary and secondary education.

You will explore the key principles of effective differentiation for learning, see how teachers use these approaches in their classrooms, and learn how to differentiate for learning by task. Real classroom footage and examples are provided from science and maths lessons.

You will leave the course feeling confident in your ability to respond to evidence of your students’ learning and address their different needs.


  • Week 1

    Supporting all students to develop knowledge, understanding and skills

    • The link between learning and differentiation

      Welcome to the course. We start the first week looking at what we mean by 'differentiation for learning'. What is your definition?

    • Scaffolding learning

      In this section we look at the work of Vygotsky and how the idea of scaffolding learning underpins differentiation for learning.

    • Thinking organisers

      In this part of the course you'll explore thinking organisers and see how they've been used in primary and secondary lessons. How will you plan to scaffold learning for your classes?

  • Week 2

    Nurturing a differentiated learning environment to motivate all learners

    • Developing a learning classroom culture

      This week you'll explore ideas around establishing an environment where everyone believes they are able to achieve and succeed in their learning.

    • Belief in the potential of all

      Dweck's work on Growth Mindsets can influence the attitudes of both teacher and learner. How will you use these ideas to shape your classroom culture?

    • Developing students’ motivation

      In this part of the course we'll look at two examples of how student choice can be planned for. What approaches will work for your classroom?

  • Week 3

    The importance of challenge if learning is to occur

    • Challenge for all

      This week we'll explore how all students need to be challenged in their thinking in order to learn. How do you enable students to take on difficult tasks?

    • Using differentiation to increase challenge and ownership of learning

      Here we look at two approaches to increasing challenge and ownership of learning. There are clips from both primary and secondary lessons to demostrate these.

    • Developing your practice

      As you begin to put ideas into practice, what have you learnt from your experience and reflections? What insights can you gain from your students?

    • Reviewing your professional development

      Review your professional development and plan your next steps to sustain and develop the way you plan for learning.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the key principles of differentiation for learning.
  • Evaluate a range of practical ideas that can be used to scaffold students’ learning.
  • Collect and analyse evidence from students on changes implemented in the classroom in order to critically reflect on own practice in order to prioritise next steps in own development
  • Develop a classroom culture that motivates all learners.
  • Identify approaches to increase challenge and ownership of learning within their teaching context.

Who is the course for?

This course is for teachers, curriculum leaders, newly qualified teachers, trainee teachers and others involved in teaching primary, secondary or further education (ages 5-19 years).

Examples are provided from science and mathematics to contextualise key concepts, however teachers of other disciplines will find the course useful to extend their thinking about how to support all learners they teach.

Who will you learn with?

Former physics teacher & leader, now supporting educators to develop teaching. Commissioned by National STEM Learning Centre to work with Dylan Wiliam & Chris Harrison to design & support AfL courses.

Former school teacher, academic, and university administrator, now working with teachers and leaders around the world to improve educational outcomes for young people.

Reader in Science Education and Chair of ASE 2014-2015. Lead UK Researcher on Assessment for Learning. Research interests in Inquiry-learning, professional learning and CPD.

Who developed the course?

National STEM Learning Centre

The National STEM Learning Centre provides world-class professional development activities and resources to support the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

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