How Learn Its in WebAssign Guide Students in My Developmental Math Classroom

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Helping students help themselves is key in the Developmental Math classroom, whether your course is in-person, online or hybrid.

I help students fill their knowledge gaps in a way that’s timely, meaningful and that respects their privacy and dignity. As a college-level math and statistics educator for over twenty years, I am delighted to share my best practices for guiding students to self-remediate in WebAssign.

Help Developmental Math students help themselves

Math remediation can be challenging. Often, each student needs remediation with different content and each student has different “holes” in their Math knowledge. When forced into a set remediation plan, students often get frustrated having to review materials that they’ve already mastered. Some may feel overwhelmed with too much Math for which they don’t see a direct application.

I’ve found several ways to address such needed remediation in my Developmental Math classroom. Learning styles can vary depending on the context, while many teachers feel comfortable with a subset of teaching styles. The goal of good teaching is to try to match the student’s immediate stage of learning to guide them towards greater understanding and skill development.

A just-in-time approach has been shown to yield improvements in the retention and grades of participating students. This is why Learn Its in WebAssign are helpful tools for students in need of remediation, especially remediation that they can control themselves.

A better approach with Learn It Modules in WebAssign

Learn Its give students embedded, targeted practice with support for a variety of learning styles, exactly when needed at the question level in WebAssign. I encourage my students to “click” on a Learn It when and if they choose; they can engage with the Learn Its as often as they need and can return to them to review and prepare for more advanced topics.

I find it especially helpful that Learn Its are strategically placed in the questions and assignments that benefit from just-in-time remediation, just like the Read It, Watch It and Master It tools. This tool builds confidence in both myself and my students!

Choosing to learn

Learn Its differ from existing help resources in two very important ways:

  1. They neither give away the answer nor provide a “recipe” for students to follow without the requisite understanding. The reading, video, practice problems, and tutorial questions in the Learn It address the concepts students are struggling with at the very moment they need them.
  2. Once the concepts become clearer to the student, they can use their new or refreshed knowledge to successfully answer the original question. Students make the choice to improve, and there is power in that. Confidence leads to participation.

Student story

I recently had a returning student in a corequisite Algebra class who sat in class and simply cried. When I approached her, she was down on herself and said she was unable to learn Math.

As part of my solution to understand and help her, I highlighted the WebAssign Learn Its options as she worked through assignments at a more comfortable level, without the pressure of peers watching, at her own pace. With a study plan that included Learn Its in WebAssign, she eventually became more confident as an active class participant, raising her hand and speaking up in class

Students in Developmental Math can sometimes feel confused and frustrated about surrounding help. As a result, many are reticent to ask for it. That’s why many students appreciate having Learn Its to use while working through their assignments, without the anxiety of asking for help or feeling self-conscious about their skills. The Learn Its guide them on the spot and show them how to develop or refresh their knowledge at their own pace.

Student support leads to student success

Success in my classroom involves a combination of students becoming more engaged and participating in their own improvement strategies. Accessible online tools that help bridge the gap between current student knowledge gaps and the skills needed for successful problem completion, comprehension and retention of knowledge are essential. I continually suggest that students use the Learn It modules for help whenever they need it and explain why so they understand that they have choice in how they improve.

My students have a better chance at success when using WebAssign support tools like Learn Its; with the right guidance, they become more independent throughout the semester. I love seeing them show more confidence and comfort, particularly when working with fractions and solving basic algebraic expressions.

With WebAssign, my students have help tools at their fingertips to work at their own pace, building skills to be successful in class. I’ve noticed some students even start to enjoy Math class…and the others hate it a little bit less.

Abby Train


Written by Abby Train, Lecturer of Mathematics at Texas State University. While recently retired as a full-time professor, she loves teaching Math and plans to continue as an instructor.



Discover more about how Learn It modules in WebAssign can help bridge knowledge gaps for your Developmental Math students.

Create a Path to Student Success With Learn Its Video