About this Research Topic
‘Advanced learning’ describes the learning of students who learn at a rate that exceeds that of their peers in one or more content areas. The learning of these children also falls outside the need-spectrum of the majority of their peers. In school settings, advanced learners are absorbing material that is typically beyond their grade level. In domains outside of school, they tend to reach higher skill levels within a shorter period of time.
The schooling and developmental needs of advanced learners differ substantially from the learning and ancillary needs of beginners in at least three regards. Firstly, the beginner’s learning process is characterized by a more playful approach than that of highly-able individuals who generally pursue a more deliberate practice approach that is distinguished by purposeful learning activities focused on improving performance. Secondly, the conditions for successful learning from a beginner versus an advanced perspective seem to be different. For example, the expertise reversal effect describes the phenomenon wherein the same instructional designs and educational strategies that might be beneficial for the beginner, could be ineffective for or even detrimental to the talent development of advanced learners. Finally, the learning needs of the high achieving student seem to be much more demanding in terms of accessing specialized and well-coordinated learning resources – both endogenous and exogenous. As the rate of improvement slows down with time, it is likely that further progress in one or more content areas requires highly specialized curricula, teachers or mentors, learning materials, and so on.
Individuals with advanced learning needs come from every age, gender, ethnicity, sociocultural, and socio-economic background. Some – usually addressed as twice exceptional (TE) – may have learning disabilities as well. As such, this Research Topic on advanced learning aims to explore the various ways in which the learning processes and the academic needs of advanced learners differ from the norm, offering possible solutions for educational stakeholders across the field of education.
Keywords: Advanced Learning, Giftedness, Talent Development, Expertise, Learning Resources
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