Old School, New School: Mastery-Based Learning


The high school I attend in Silicon Valley requires all juniors to spend one week participating in an internship or shadow week. I was lucky to be able to spend my week at Khan Academy.  During my shadow week, I learned how Khan Academy reaches people all over the world who are driven to deepen their education. It was also a chance to attend communications team meetings, learn about the testimonial process, and understand how press release requests are handled.

Mastery-Based Learning

Throughout the week, I also realized that Khan Academy, Khan Lab School and the Waldorf school that I attend share the belief that students understand concepts best through mastery-based learning—an educational pedagogy that allows students to learn at a pace that is suitable to them.

At Khan Academy, over 200 team members are dedicated to providing learners all over the world with a free, world class education. Students, whether they are in classrooms or working independently, can go as fast or as slow as they want, and mastery is central to the way students learn and advance their understanding of Khan Academy subjects.

At Khan Lab School, mastery-based learning frequently occurs in blended or project-based environments. This approach advances the idea that students working in a self-paced setting will fully master concepts and skills. In many schools, the time students spent learning is constant and the level of content mastery varies.

The opposite is true at Khan Lab School.  The amount of time it takes to learn something can be variable and everyone eventually achieves a mastery level understanding of each subject area. I also learned that students use Khan Academy at Khan Lab School, especially for math and computer science.


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Joe Root

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