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Posted on 04/09/2018 by Train Visual Ltd

HOW2 overcome barriers to student progress

HOW2 overcome barriers to student progress

Providers could be left in no new business limbo for years after Ofsted apprenticeship monitoring visit

As reported in FE Week (28//8/18), training providers are under ever increasing pressure to ensure a good outcome for Teaching, Learning and Assessment. But how can providers ensure their trainers have the tools to overcome the barriers to student progress they face every day?  Carole Kane, HOW2’s Professional Learning Lead, has some ideas...

We’ve found that trainers and assessors (teachers) need a better understanding of what barriers to student progress look like. Not as a grade or part of a compliance process, but as a learning behaviour. This sees providers supporting their teachers in developing what we might call a ‘theory of action’. It goes something like this...“My students are not making progress because they <insert learning behaviour>. I need to <insert teaching solution> to overcome barrier to progress”. 

Listed below is a small sample of learning barriers that will help teachers know what student learning behaviours to look for. But knowing what the barriers are is not enough. Knowing how to get over those barriers is key. Give busy teachers immediate access to the how — a rich repertoire of teaching solutions — and we will give them the tools to overcome those barriers to student progress as they arise.


Working with our training providers we ask teachers to identify the barriers to progress they come across every day. Here is a very small sample of the things teachers typically say and underneath there is a list of some of the teaching solutions we give them access to. On the HOW2 web app itself the teacher gets access to step-by-step, visual guidance that shows them how to apply the technique to overcome the obstacle to student progress.

“Dear teacher,

What barriers to student progress do you come across in your work? Read the questions below.

We then point you to teaching solutions that will help you overcome these barriers.


(NOTE: HOW2 users click through to see visual, step-by-step guides to the solutions named).


Do learners sometimes have difficulty recalling and revisiting content from previous sessions?

Look at Desk Work, Graphic Organisers to Demonstrate Understanding, Snowballv1, Think > Pair > Share


Is some of your content harder for you to explain and for learners to understand?

Take a look at GOs as Advance Organisers, Dual Coding, Got It?, Smooth Transitions, Paired Peer Explanation


Is progress sometimes hindered by learners not knowing how to proceed with a task you have set?

Take a look at All Clear for Take-Off, Clarifying Learning Objectives, Smooth Transitions, Got It?


Are your learners sometimes overwhelmed by the volume of what they have to learn?

Take a look at GOs as Advance Organisers.


Do learners struggle to make a quick and efficient transition between teacher instruction and independent practice and/or in transitioning between phases or activities within a lesson?

Try Practice the Behaviours you want, Smooth Transitions, Got It?, All Change Countdown 


Do learners sometimes lose focus and go off  task when working alone or in pairs or groups?

Try Smooth Transitions, Visual Instruction Plan: Content and Visual Instruction Plan: Processes


Do learners have difficulty planning for practical or written tasks and have difficulty in carrying out a plan?

Take a look at Flow Bubble: Planning for Writing and iPlan.


Do you need to assess how well learners have understood a process or concept prior to progressing to use potentially dangerous materials or equipment?

Try Graphic Organisers as Manipulatives or Graphic Organisers to Demonstrate Understanding


Do your students have difficulty explaining their progress to others?

If so try GOs for Self and Peer Assessment, GOs for Self and Peer Review, Grab ‘n’Go, Interview and Playback


Do your students reflect on progress made both during and at the end of a session?

Try Just a Minute, Learning Capture, Mini Whiteboards Key Questions, Mini Whiteboards Recaps


Do difficulties comprehending written text or planning for tasks affect progress?

Take a look at the Independent Learning set generally and the iRead, Question and Answer


Do your learners tend to rely on you too much? Do they need practice checking their progress and developing their understanding with each other?

Take a look at Interview and Playback, Snowballv1, iTransform, and Grab ‘n’Go 


Do you sometimes wonder whether your learners know or have realised what the purpose of the session was?

GOs as Advance Organisers, Guiding Questions and Progress Tracker  are a good place to start.


Do some of your learners display persistent low level behaviours?

Take a look at Working the Room, Physical Presence and Influence, Going In Going Out, Practise the Behaviours you Want, Smooth Transitions ”  


This is a very small sample of the barriers our customers identify and the solutions we offer. I am very proud of our record helping providers move to or stay at a 2 or 1. You can download the full questionnaire, scroll down to watch a one minute video and find out more about our work  here. Contact me for an informal chat.


Carole Kane, MA, PGCE

Professional Learning Lead

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