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Understanding and Supporting Diverse Learners

LDN 631—Understanding and Supporting Diverse Learners

This course is the part of the online professional certificate program in Learning Differences and Neurodiversity (LDN) offered by Landmark College (with specializations in “Executive Function” or ”Autism and Online“).

Course Information

Course Description: This course, designed for both beginners and veteran education professionals, starts with an understanding of neurodiversity, latest research findings on learning and executive function, and changes in legal mandates; and expands to incorporate application of evidence-based practices such as universal design for learning and coaching-like approaches for addressing executive function difficulties. Instructors bring a range of skills and expertise and work directly with participants to ensure that the course is relevant and valuable to their current and future professional roles.

Graduate Credit: Three graduate credits will be awarded per course for students achieving a grade of 80% or greater.

Format: This is an 8-week online course. Each week is a module which includes a variety of resources, readings, online discussions, and multimedia activities designed to engage participants in the course content. The course also includes 6 weekly online synchronous sessions (video conferences) scheduled primarily in the evenings (Eastern Time). We will make every attempt to accommodate individual schedules, but participants should plan on attending at least 5 of the 6 synchronous sessions. The course uses Canvas as its Learning Management System (LMS). Registered participants will be provided with details to log on during the week before the start of classes.

Course Objectives
The course objectives align with professional standards in the field of LD, specifically the standards for special educators established by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). We have chosen to align to the “Advanced” set of Preparation Standards, as this higher-level set of standards more closely matches the level of content and expertise required of a graduate level course in the field. The CEC Advanced Preparation Standards are linked here, or can be found on the CEC’s website:

Course Learning Objectives

CEC Advanced Preparation Standard

1. Articulate new and emerging understanding of neurodiversity and neuro-atypical profiles of learners, including awareness of neuro-plasticity and multiple perspectives on individual differences in Executive Function (EF).

2.2, 2.3

2. Discuss current evidence-based findings on EF, and Landmark College’s approach to addressing EF challenges among diverse learners.

3.1, 3.2, 3.3

3. Identify, evaluate, adapt, and apply the Landmark College (LC) model of EF supports, including LC’s approach to academic advising, universal design pedagogies, first year seminar courses, geared towards meta-cognitive awareness and self-determination.

4.1, 4.2, 4.3

4. Articulate current legal mandates and their implications for students with executive function challenges, including understanding of EF accommodations, both in and out of the classroom.


5. Analyze the conceptual framework and principles of universal design as an approach to addressing executive function difficulties and its applications.

2.2, 2.3
3.2, 3.3, 3.4
4.2, 4.3

6. Describe the basic tenets of non-directive EF coaching as it applies to students with executive function difficulties and its application in multiple settings.

2.2, 2.3

3.3, 3.5
5.3, 5.4

7. Evaluate their own professional development within the context of this course with respect to practical applications and lessons learned.

6.0, 6.2, 6.4


Course Outline

Week 1
  • New and emerging understanding of “how we learn”
  • Neurodiversity and neuroplasticity
  • Brain training programs—a critical review
Week 2
  • Executive Function (EF) challenges among students with LD/ADHD/ASD
  • Brief overview of dopamine pathways and ADHD
  • ADHD in children vs. adults
  • EF research and its application to the classroom

Week 3

  • Cognitive load and executive function
  • Understanding the interrelationship EF and Working Memory
  • Classroom applications
Week 4
  • Drill down topic: Participants’ choice or EF and time management
  • Time management apps and technologies that support time management
  • Technology for Self-Management Project
Week 5
  • Landmark College model of EF supports for college students with disabilities
  • Proactive advising
  • First year seminar courses
  • Nondirective coaching approach
Week 6
  • EF challenges among students who learn differently
  • Drill down topic: Approaches and techniques of non-directive coaching model
  • EF and meta-cognitive awareness—what can you do to help yourself?
Week 7
  • Framework of Universal Design—how does it work for students with EF deficits?
  • UD—practical applications in and out of the classroom
  • Creating your own repository of strategies for EF support
Week 8
  • Understanding the range of legal rights and responsibilities (ADA and IDEA) for supporting students with
    • EF challenges
    • Drill down topic: participants choice


Module Format

Details of the Module format are as follows:

Objectives—Each Module will start by articulating the objectives for that Module. The objectives will list anticipated learning of the topics that will be addressed in each Module.

Warm-up Activities—Warm-up Activities are designed to help to create a community of learners within this course, to understand each other’s perspectives, and to engage in a discourse. Warm-up Activities will be posed at the start of each Module as a query or a scenario to get us thinking about the topic as a group. You can post your own insights, observations, and/or respond to someone else’s posting.

Learning Activities—Learning Activities serve as instructional content for the module topics. (Example: Viewing/listening to PowerPoint slides; Readings, Assignments, Targeted Website Browsing, Creating your own library of resources.)

Talk Time—Talk Time is the synchronous meeting time for the course. During this time, we will address queries and points to ponder for discussion. Graded.

Participation Prompts—The Participation Prompt section is like a discussion blog. Instructors will post questions that are designed to guide knowledge acquisition and application of the concepts within each Module. You will need to post an original response and comment on the response of a classmate. Graded.

Additional Resources—A resource repository on EF and LD will be created and added to by all members of this learning community. Ungraded.

Learn more about Landmark College’s certificate program in Learning Differences and Neurodiversity 

Certificate Program Overview

Course Descriptions

Certificate Program Pricing & FAQ


Still have questions? Give us a call or email us at:

Landmark College Institute for Research and Training
(802) 387-1662


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