Self-Paced Learning: Practical Tools And Advice From Everyday Teachers

Anyone who has been around a child of any age knows that they all progress and learn differently. That’s what pro educators already understand and the core of what makes outside bystanders so confused about today’s classroom.

You can’t just stand in front of the classroom and teach and get high levels of mastery. You’re either going too fast or too slow. You’re only helping the middle. When you put more features of a self-paced classroom into your everyday routine, you’re giving your students space to learn at their own pace.

Self-Paced Learning

What is a self-paced classroom?

Students get to work at their own speed in a self-paced classroom. If they don’t understand a concept, then they can take their time with it and do extra practice. 

If they understand something, then they can move on. No more drill and kill that stifles the love of learning in your classroom. A self-paced classroom, by its nature, is differentiated. You can check off a lot of boxes when you make the switch.

What strategies and tools can I use so students can work at their own pace?

There are numerous strategies and tools that you can use so students can learn at their own pace:

  • There has to be a way for them to learn new material at their new pace. A recording of your lesson allows students to watch (and even rewatch) the material at their own pace.
  • You can gather supplemental activities from colleagues, Khan Academy, and even test prep resources for additional practice. 
  • Assess students with your preferred worksheets and assessments. But deliver it digitally so students can complete work at their own pace.


With TeacherMade, you can turn any of your worksheets, assignments, and assessments into interactive digital activities. TeacherMade digital worksheets can also be auto-scored. So you get instant feedback for self-paced learning.

What are the benefits of self-paced learning?

We talked with 5th-grade teacher Emily Adamsheck about how she uses TeacherMade to monitor students and bring self-paced learning to her classroom. Here are some of her thoughts of how self-paced learning changed her classroom for the better. 

Focuses on mastery

TeacherMade has streamlined student progress for me, and I’m able to efficiently find those students who are struggling (along with observations during guided practice). When viewing an assignment on TeacherMade, it’s very easy to find those fast finishers and the ones who may be behind everyone else and everyone in between by the sort options that are available. Between guided practice observation and monitoring student progress through TeacherMade, I am able to identify the students that I can work with in a small group or one-on-one during work time.

Gives students more self-confidence

Once an assignment is submitted in TeacherMade, I DON’T HAVE TO CORRECT IT. Yeah, I said it loudly. The amount of time I’ve saved by not having to correct student work is astronomical. I can now put more of my time and effort into student understanding and success. Students are now able to self-assess and self-monitor their understanding more independently than ever before. Students are able to independently check their work and then fix their answers. Of course, they can always come to me for help, but sometimes it’s more effective when they see the mistakes that they’ve made, and they are able to self-correct. The instant feedback has been helpful for many different levels of understanding. Some students have realized they may have rushed through their work and made “silly” mistakes or just mistakes in general that they are able to identify on their own. Some students may need a refresher, and the lightbulb clicks (I love that feeling!), and other students need more, and I’m physically and mentally there for them since I can now actively monitor from my computer screen.

Increases self-regulation

I teach 5th grade math, reading, and social studies. Every teacher knows, a huge chunk of the teaching process is monitoring student progress and understanding. Using TeacherMade to monitor student progress has become so efficient and effective. I monitor student progress with every homework assignment and also during assessments if needed. I don’t feel like I’m constantly moving, hovering, or checking in with students while they’re working. I’m pretty positive students enjoy the “freedom” as well. When I’m viewing an assignment on TeacherMade, a snapshot of the entire class’s progress is on one page, and if I want more individual detail, I can certainly see that by clicking on a student’s name. I am able to quickly view their progressive score, correct and incorrect answers, and the amount of time they’ve been working on an assignment. 


Another benefit of monitoring student progress on TeacherMade is that students are being held accountable. With a click of a button, I’m able to view an assignment that’s in progress. I am able to identify the students that need more help, but I’m also able to identify the ones that may or may not be on-task (every class has at least one, right?). The excuse, “my homework is done, but I left it at home,” no longer flies (did it ever?). My students are completely aware of how TeacherMade works. When I first started using TeacherMade at the beginning of the year, I showed them exactly what it looks like on a teacher’s end, and we discussed how TeacherMade is beneficial for both teachers and students in many ways. I have yet to see a program with features that TeacherMade has, and I’m not quite sure how I survived without TeacherMade!