Interest-Based Learning

Aug 12, 2015 11:00:00 AM Jessica Beidelman Teaching and Learning

This is the third installment of a series highlighting top innovations in teaching methodologies.

Read Part I - Inquiry-Based Learning 

Read Part II - Adaptive Learning

Innovative schools are implementing a wide range of curricula in order to complement the classroom technology and school infrastructure that promote student academic achievement. Innovative teaching methodologies rely upon quality teaching and pedagogy in order to lead to improved student outcomes.

What is Interest-Based Learning?

Interest-based learning uses children’s interests as the basis for curriculum decision-making, which ensures that teaching responds to children’s strengths, abilities and interests, leading to engagement in learning. Interest-based learning can be delivered online and through small group instruction. Students move at their own pace and are prepared to adapt to a variety of delivery methods used in college and the workplace. Technology is used to support real time connections to foster collaboration and relationship building. 


Impact on Student Learning 

Interest has been found to play an energizing role on cognitive functioning. Research on interest-based motivation indicates that interest has a strong effect on learner motivation and in predicting future intention (Alexander, Jetton, & Kulikowich, 1995; Hidi, 2000).

On average, Carnegie Learning Blended Curriculum moved students at the 50th percentile to the 58th—nearly double the gains of a typical year’s worth of learning.

Examples of Use 

  • EdVisions high schools use Project Foundry and other tools to support interest-based learning and authentic assessment. Students have the opportunity to learn in different ways, achieve curriculum standards and earn graduation credits though rigorous, engaging projects that are driven by student interest. EdVisions is defined by small learning communities of 150 students working in highly personalized settings. The model relies upon self-directed, project-based learning that is driven by constructivist pedagogy. Each student has a Personalized Learning Plan and an individual work space with Internet access
  • Costs associated with interest-based learning vary based upon the available tools used to implement an interest-based curriculum. Low-cost implementation includes working within the existent framework, reworking problems and content in order to adhere to student interest, while higher cost initiatives include fundamental changes to the units covered in each content area.

To learn more about Interest-Based Learning, read: 

Look out for our next post about Project-Based Learning.