What Does a Learning Specialist Do?

G. Wiesen

The duties of a learning specialist typically involve overseeing some form of education or learning, and the exact nature of this responsibility is often dictated by where the specialist is employed. A specialist at a college or university, for example, might assist other educators in creating lesson plans or oversee the operations of a student assistance center. In a similar capacity, this type of specialist employed at a primary or secondary school typically works with students who have special needs. There are also companies and other private organizations that employ a learning specialist to oversee training of employees and design programs to educate potential customers.

Some learning specialists work with children who suffer from dyslexia or a similar neurological disorder that inhibits their learning skills.
Some learning specialists work with children who suffer from dyslexia or a similar neurological disorder that inhibits their learning skills.

A learning specialist is usually someone employed at an organization or company responsible for assisting or overseeing some facet of learning. At a college or university, this type of specialist often assists professors with lessons or helps students in need of assistance with learning. A college might have a learning center, for example, at which a learning specialist works with students to help them better understand the learning process. This type of specialist can help teach new students study skills, test for learning disabilities, and provide students with various resources to help them during their education.

A learning specialist may teach students strategies for overcoming learning disabilities.
A learning specialist may teach students strategies for overcoming learning disabilities.

At a primary or secondary school, a learning specialist is likely to perform similar tasks. Since this type of specialist works with younger students, however, he or she may be more involved in testing for learning disabilities and handling other special needs. Students who are especially intelligent, for example, may be identified by a specialist through testing and allowed to take more advanced or challenging classes. A learning specialist might also work with teachers who have students with specific needs, help students deal with learning the dominant language as a secondary language, and assist with teaching students strategies for overcoming learning disabilities.

A learning specialist may work with adults who are studying English as a second language.
A learning specialist may work with adults who are studying English as a second language.

Some companies and similar private organizations may also employ a learning specialist to supervise development of training programs and customer education. A specialist at a large corporation might devise programs for training new managers, or assist trainers with learning to better facilitate training in the corporate environment. This type of learning specialist may also oversee development and deployment of programs to help educate customers. These programs may introduce new products or services to customers, as well as be used for creating workshops and similar programs in stores to develop relationships with customers through creative projects that use products offered in the store.

Learning specialists may work in libraries.
Learning specialists may work in libraries.
Some learning specialists assist other educators in creating lesson plans.
Some learning specialists assist other educators in creating lesson plans.
A learning specialist may work with students with dysgraphia, a learning disorder that negatively impacts an individual's fine motor skills.
A learning specialist may work with students with dysgraphia, a learning disorder that negatively impacts an individual's fine motor skills.
Learning specialists may assist teachers to find different way to get students engaged in class work.
Learning specialists may assist teachers to find different way to get students engaged in class work.
Learning specialists can help with reading comprehension.
Learning specialists can help with reading comprehension.

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Discussion Comments

clintflint

@KoiwiGal - It's been proved several times that it's better for everyone if schools are completely integrated as much as possible, with children of all abilities sharing the same classrooms. No teacher is going to be able to be a complete expert on helping every single type of student they come across, in every subject.

Learning is a complex process even in a completely average individual. When you add in factors like language and disability or giftedness, then it can be almost impossible for anyone to have all the answers. Access to a specialist is one way to help teachers overcome this.

KoiwiGal

@pastanaga - I don't know, I would have thought that the teachers themselves were supposed to be the learning specialists. I mean, I know they have a lot of students to work with, but the whole point of their job is to know how to educate individuals who have different needs. If they aren't able to do that, doesn't that mean they basically aren't doing their job right?

I'd rather have a competent classroom teacher than a school full of specialists.

pastanaga

It's becoming recognized as more and more important for students to have access to various different learning specialists as they go through school. One of the best schools I ever visited had a wonderful woman working as their dyslexia specialist and she was in charge of testing students and helping them to develop a learning plan if they happened to need one. They had another woman who worked with the more gifted students and several who worked as mentors for students who needed extra help.

One on one contact is important, and someone who understands special learning needs is important as well.

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