Individual Support/alx

From Open Pattern Repository for Online Learning Systems
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Individual Support
Contributors Christian Köppe, Ralph Niels, Robert Holwerda, Lars Tijsma, Niek Van Diepen, Koen Van Turnhout, René Bakker, Stijn Hoppenbrouwers
Last modification May 15, 2017
Source Köppe et al. (2015)[1]; Köppe et al. (2016)[2]
Pattern formats OPR Alexandrian
Learning domain

The course is running and some students start to fall behind the schedule with knowledge acquisition. The provided Additional Resources (Additional Resources) are not sufficient for helping these students.


Addressing the needs of all students with general activities becomes increasingly difficult if the gap between the expected knowledge of some students and their actual knowledge is growing.

Students have different ways of learning. They are dependent on the provided material: the way it explains the concepts, how it motivates them to elaborate on the matter themselves, the exercises provided for practicing and applying the concepts as well as deepening their understanding, et cetera. Setting up material that fits all students is hard.


Therefore: Give students individual support for a short period if they have specific problems with solving certain assignments or acquiring certain knowledge parts in order to bring them back on track.

This pattern is a follow up on Considerate Lecturer (Considerate Lecturer). When you find out that a student has problems with a concept, help her or him individually for a short period by giving tips on how to continue or by explaining a concept again.

This help does not necessarily need to be provided face-to-face by the teacher, but can also be given in other ways: through a forum in a learning environment, through the usage of teaching assistants, or even by asking more experienced students to help less experienced ones (making them Additional Resources (Additional Resources) too).

By giving individual support, the students have a higher chance of grasping the concepts and therefore keeping on track with the course schedule. This is therefore also helpful with Controlled Pacing (Controlled Pacing).

However, providing such individual support requires more time, requires knowledge of where the students struggle with ( Preparation Status Awareness (Preparation Status Awareness) can help here) and is not easy to apply because you as teacher have to constantly adjust your support for the individual student and her problems. This means that a standard Seminar Plan (Seminar Plan) does not work, it needs to be determined ad-hoc during the execution of the course. It is also very unlikely that you have enough time to give Individual Support (Individual Support) to larger numbers of students. Applying Decentralized Group Instruction Per Level (Decentralized Group Instruction Per Level) might help in this case.

For both introductory programming courses at HAN University, the in-class meetings are scheduled for three times a week and three hours each. This gives the lecturers enough time for some face-to-face support of individual students.

Additionally, for both programming courses, we offer students the individual support given by senior students: twice a week, one or more senior students are available for two hours to offer additional explanation or help with assignments. Students of the two courses can come to these sessions without having to sign up.


  1. Patlet first mentioned in Köppe, C., Niels, R., Holwerda, R., Tijsma, L., Van Diepen, N., Van Turnhout, K., Bakker, R., (2015). Flipped Classroom Patterns - Designing Valuable In-Class Meetings. In Proceedings of the 20th European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (EuroPLoP 2015). New York:ACM.
  2. Pattern first published in Köppe, C., Niels, R., Bakker, R., & Hoppenbrouwers, S. (2016). Flipped Classroom Patterns-Controlling the Pace. In Proceedings of the 10th Travelling Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (VikingPLoP 2016). New York:ACM.