28 April, 2016
- A location in a school, such as a classroom or dedicated part of the library, where students can go to obtain academic support,
The programs school creates that deliver academic support.
- Learning labs are typically accessible during the school day, but in some cases they may be offered before the regular school day starts or after it ends.
- Learning labs are usually open to any student who wants supplementary instructional assistance in a specific subject area or help with a particular assignment or project, but in some schools students may be required to attend a learning lab to receive help with an identified learning need—such as persistent difficulties in a math course, for example.
- Learning labs may have devoted staff members and support experts, such as educators who are trained in literacy instruction (i.e., how to teach students to read and write more effectively). In other cases, teachers may be assigned to learning labs on a rotating basis, and students may go to a learning lab on a specific day to receive help in a particular subject area, such as math, science, or social studies.
- Learning labs may offer academic aid in all subject areas, or they may provide intensive support in a specialized academic area—perhaps the two most common forms of dedicated learning labs are math labsand literacy labs.
- Learning labs are often used to support special-education students or students with known learning disabilities. In these cases, learning labs will supplement or augment the students’ regular academic courses—i.e., the students receive more instructional time in specific academic disciplines or more intensive academic assistance on course-related work—with the goal of helping these students keep pace with their peers or meet expected learning standards.
- Learning labs may be entirely optional and voluntary in some schools, while in others they may be purposely integrated into a school’s academic program. For example, a school may believe that all students can benefit from additional academic support, and it may choose to replace traditional study-hall periods with learning labs. In this case, all or most students will be enrolled in some form of learning lab, where they receive academic assistance or where they work on school projects under the guidance of teachers and staff members. The general goal of this approach would be to replace unstructured class periods (study halls) with more structured instructional periods (learning labs) that utilize available school time more purposefully and productively.
- Learning labs may be more common in the upper grades—i.e., high school and middle school—where students move from class to class and teacher to teacher throughout the school day. Yet elementary schools may also use support strategies the same as learning labs.