About the Learner Variability Project

Today’s classrooms include a diverse student population who bring with them varied experiences and abilities. Much of our education system, however, has been slow to support students who may fall behind or be uninspired by traditional pathways of teaching and learning.

Many of these students become marginalized when systems do not consider their learner variability. This may be the student who is slower to decode but, when read to, comprehends at high levels. Learner variability also describes the student who does not do as well on their test due to anxiety caused by the prospect of being judged based on a stereotype. Or, perhaps they are identified as gifted but are bored because traditional methods of instruction do not engage their needs. Learning sciences research is revealing how variability has an impact on more students than has been seen in the past and also which strategies show promise in addressing the needs of the full diversity of learners.

Learning sciences research provides insights into how best to support and engage our full diversity of learners. The Learner Variability Project (LVP) team works at the intersection of researchers, educators, and edtech developers to design and develop a more rich and equitable education for each learner. At LVP we recognize that learning sciences research provides insights into how best to engage our full diversity of learners. Consequently, we translate this ever-growing research into easily accessible factors and strategies that can inform both product design and classroom practice. The research-based factors and strategies together comprise our Learner Models. These Models are free, open-source, and based on a whole-child framework. We have detailed our process to assure you that LVP’s resources and services are 100 percent grounded in current research and reviewed by leading researchers. We have synthesized the research so you don’t have to!

Our Learner Models focus on the learner, not on the political or economic policies and structures that can have an impact on the child, their family, and their community. We recognize, however, that systematic and societal obstacles can be difficult to overcome, even as we strive to provide each child with what they need to thrive in school. Our hope is that by tapping into our research-based web app, we can work with educators to make classrooms more compassionate and motivating spaces where each student can think, learn, and grow.

Equity and student success are key goals for Digital Promise Global and LVP. With our partners, we aspire to a world where all learners are understood and provided with an evidence-based and robust education that supports how they learn best.

For product developers, we offer a Product Explorer tool that quickly surfaces research-based strategies. Teams can consider potential product features that can engage a fuller diversity of learners. At the Learner Variability Project’s Navigator web app, product teams also have the ability to create workspaces to share insights on LS and product design strategies.

LVP also offers RFPs to provide funds up to $50,000 for selected partners and also support from the LVP team to develop “innovative approaches that allow students to engage with content differently, [by asking] what does technology make possible that could not be done before?" (Ed Tech Developer’s Guide, p. 8).

For educators, we have a Learning Needs Explorer tool and teachers can create workspaces where they can discuss with their teams our evidence-based learning factors and strategies for tailoring instruction for individuals and small groups, as well as whole-class learning.

Coming soon is a professional learning toolbox and guide to using the Learner Variability Navigator’s research-based strategies in the classroom with the goal to reach each learner where they are and help them soar in school and beyond.

To learn more about learner variability, LVP offers learner variability micro-credentials, which were created in partnership with The Friday Institute, that build educators’ capacity for addressing different factors, like Attention and Self-regulation, in a strengths-based way. More learner variability micro-credentials are on the way.

LVP also provide access to free reports, case studies, videos, and webinars to build a toolkit for teachers, counselors, coaches, and administrators.

Advisory Boards

Advisory Board for Reading PK-3

  • Carol McDonald Connor, Ph.D., Chancellor's Professor, University of California: Irvine School of Education
  • Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez, Ed.D., Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University Peabody College of Education and Human Development
  • Bruce McCandliss, Ph.D., Professor, Stanford University Graduate School of Education
  • Dave Paunesku, Ph.D., Co-Founder of the Stanford University Project for Education Research that Scales (PERTS)
  • Todd Rose, Ph.D., Lecturer on Education and Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education Program, Harvard University, and co-founder of Populace

Advisory Board for Literacy 4-6

  • Carol McDonald Connor, Ph.D., Chancellor's Professor, University of California: Irvine School of Education
  • Steve Graham, Ph.D., Warner Professor of Education, Arizona State University Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
  • Sean Kang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dartmouth College Department of Education
  • Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez, Ed.D., Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University Peabody College of Education and Human Development

Advisory Board for Literacy 7-12

  • Steve Graham, Ph.D., Warner Professor of Education, Arizona State University Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
  • Jaana Juvonen, Ph.D., Professor, University of California: Los Angeles Department of Psychology
  • Sarah Levine, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Stanford University Graduate School of Education
  • Gholnecsar Muhammad, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Georgia State University College of Education & Human Development
  • Allan Wigfield, Ph.D., Professor, University of Maryland College of Education

Advisory Board for Math PK-2

  • David Geary, Ph.D., Curators' Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri
  • Ximena Dominguez, Ph.D., formerly Senior Research Scientist, Center for Technology in Learning, SRI International, and currently Director of Early STEM Research, Digital Promise
  • Bruce McCandliss, Ph.D., Professor, Stanford University Graduate School of Education
  • Todd Rose, Ph.D., Lecturer on Education and Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education Program, Harvard University, and co-founder of Populace

Advisory Board for Math 3-6 and Math 7-9

  • Maria Blanton, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, TERC
  • Susan Empson, Ph.D., Professor of Learning, Teaching & Curriculum, University of Missouri
  • Gerardo Ramirez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology, Ball State University
  • Bethany Rittle-Johnson, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology & Human Development, Vanderbilt University
  • Jeremy Roschelle, Ph.D., Executive Director of Learning Sciences Research, Digital Promise Global