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Learning Portal Perspectives

Improve Learning Infographic

Improve Learning Infographic - Major issues linked to improve learning outcomes

Education planners, search no more. The IIEP Learning Portal has collected insights from recent research on quality education and improving learning outcomes to give you a head start on the top 25 ways to improve learning.

Following the recent negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals, leaders around the world have committed to ensuring quality primary and secondary education for their populations. As Presidents, Prime Ministers, and royalty turn to their Ministries of Education to accomplish this goal, planners may justifiably wonder how to prioritize their time and funding in order to achieve “relevant and effective learning” for all.

There have been many studies of the factors that contribute to educational quality, and many models have been developed to illustrate their interrelationships. At least five models have been particularly influential on an international scale, including a UNICEF study in 2000 on Defining Quality in Education, the 2005 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, the UNESCO General Education System Quality Analysis Framework (GEQAF), the World Bank’s Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER), and the various analyses produced by international large-scale assessment regimes such as PISA.

Education is complex, but planners need clarity. Here, we summarize the research to give you 25 ways to improve learning in just one sentence each. For more details, take a look at the research briefs on our Improve Learning page and search for further reading in our Library.

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25 Ways to Improve Learning

 Teachers & Pedagogy

  1. Recruit enough strong teacher candidates into the profession and deploy them equitably throughout the education system. (Learn more)
  2. Motivate teachers by improving their status and conditions. (Learn more)
  3. Prepare future teachers for the realities of their teaching contexts through strong coursework in pedagogical content knowledge and field experiences. (Learn more)
  4. Empower teachers to use effective and appropriate pedagogy, using a range of approaches to meet the needs of different content areas, different children, and different contexts. (Learn more)
  5. Support in-service teachers through context-relevant, on-going, and collaborative opportunities for continuous professional development. (Learn more)

 Learners & Support Structures

  1. Understand students’ diverse learning abilities and learning challenges. (Learn more)
  2. Ensure that all students—at all ages—arrive at school ready to learn by: attending to the pre-requisites for cognitive development, protecting children’s physical and socio-emotional health, and ensuring that they have enough time to rest, study, and play. (Learn more)
  3. Implement a mix of centre- and home-based early childhood education programming that focuses on the holistic development of the child while supporting parenting skills. (Learn more)
  4. Involve parents in promoting, encouraging, and enriching their child’s learning. (Learn more)
  5. Coordinate with other social services in order to help resolve the socio-economic inequities that contribute to lower learning outcomes for disadvantaged children. (Learn more)

 Curriculum & Materials

  1. Teach children in their mother tongue language for at least 6 years before they switch fully to a different language of instruction. (Learn more)
  2. Develop relevant and effective curriculum and standards, and ensure their dissemination and implementation. (Learn more)
  3. Procure relevant and effective textbooks and teachers’ guides, and ensure that students and teachers have regular access to them. (Learn more)
  4. Use cost-effective supplementary materials to enrich teaching in every subject, to engage students in multi-dimensional learning, and to build students’ abilities to apply their knowledge. (Learn more)
  5. Develop the digital literacy of teachers and students through appropriate and cost-effective use of information and communications technology (ICT). (Learn more)

 Schools & Classrooms

  1. Prepare and support school leaders who have a vision for improving quality and learning outcomes, and who are also effective at ongoing management tasks. (Learn more)
  2. Design the physical school space to be accessible, safe, hygienic, reasonably comfortable, and cognitively stimulating. (Learn more)
  3. Institute school-wide policies that reinforce positive school relationships through open dialogue and violence prevention, that ensure a reasonable student workload, and that promote students’ sense that what they are learning is meaningful. (Learn more)
  4. Ensure students have enough time to learn in school by adhering to planned schedules, improving teacher attendance and motivation, and building skills for effective classroom management and quality instruction. (Learn more)
  5. Ensure student achievement is assessed throughout the year, that diverse methods of instruction and assessment methods are utilised, and that assessment practises meet quality standards of fairness, validity, and reliability. (Learn more)

 Education System Management

  1. Ground education sector analysis and strategic planning in reliable research and data to identify priority issues and means for improving learning outcomes. (Learn more)
  2. Allow decentralized decision-making to determine the most important local priorities for learning, while ensuring that capacity-building and other resources are distributed fairly. (Learn more)
  3. Ensure school inspections give accurate reports and explicit feedback to inform the school’s improvement plan. (Learn more)
  4. Design large-scale and summative assessments that are valid, reliable, and equitable, and use the resulting data to improve learning through systemic change. (Learn more)
  5. Dedicate sufficient resources to education and design school funding formulae to link resource deployment with key inputs and processes that can improve learning outcomes. (Learn more)

Does your education system meet all of these recommendations? Tell us more about what sorts of resources you would like to see on the IIEP Learning Portal to help you make improvements.


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Acknowledgements: The IIEP Learning Portal would like to thank the researchers Que Anh Dang, Anna Persson, Matthew Thomas, and Matthew Waugh, as well as all the peer reviewers from around the world, for their contributions to these Improve Learning articles.

Contributed by : Catherine Honeyman Que Anh Dang Anna Persson Matthew Thomas Matthew Waugh



The subjects taught, the time allotted to each, and the sequence.