Motivating different types of learners

Since different students learn in different ways, they benefit from different kinds of support. Here are a few examples that might spark ideas of your own!

Highly motivated learners

Allow your highly motivated learners to choose the content they study and to move at their own pace. These learners often progress through Khan Academy at impressive speeds!
By explaining what they’re learning or teaching others, these students can reinforce their own understanding.

Disengaged learners

If a learner has trouble paying attention to Khan Academy, use rewards or verbal praise to encourage a positive learning attitude and strong work ethic. Leverage your coach reports to set appropriate goals and celebrate small successes. For example, if you see that the learner mastered a skill on Khan Academy, show them the skill and praise them for this accomplishment. It may also be beneficial to have the learner add other friends or family members as coaches so that these people can also monitor the learner’s progress and congratulate them.
One common reason for learners to disengage is that material they're studying seems too easy or too difficult. If this is the case, help your learner find content suited to their level.

Dependent learners

If a learner works diligently but tends to ask for help frequently or feel insecure about their answers, emphasize positive learning habits such as reading the hint and watching the video before asking for guidance. Encourage the learner to check their work on their own and submit their final answer when they feel ready.

Teaching the growth mindset

At Khan Academy, we strongly believe that anybody can learn anything. There’s scientific evidence that neural connections grow and become stronger the more you struggle with learning and correct your mistakes.  Based on research by Stanford Professor Carol Dweck and her colleagues, we know that students with a growth mindset—the belief that intelligence is not just something that you are born with—have higher levels of success than those with a fixed mindset. Teaching your students about this concept has the potential to make them grittier, more positive, and more successful in their careers and everyday lives.

Below is a lesson plan and a kit for teachers to use with their students. As a parent or mentor, feel free to use some of these ideas with your own students.
  • Growth Mindset Lesson Plan
    This plan was created as a collaboration between Khan Academy and PERTS, Stanford's research center on academic mindsets.  It includes activities, videos, and links to helpful resources.  Feel free to adapt and edit the activities provided to meet the needs of your students!
  • MindsetKit by PERTS
    This website houses a variety of resources for teachers to use with their students, including videos, articles, activities, and more.