Dynamic Assessment: Components of a Mediated Learning Experience (MLE)

Component What Why
Intentionality Related intent to change child functioning to the child. Tell them the target and the reason for the MLE. Teach, create awareness in the child
Meaning Focus the child's attention on what is important. Help the child to attend to important features of the task and ignore unimportant features. Help child to understand why task is important
Transcendence Bridging of concepts & events beyond the immediate task; introduction of abstract ideas. Examples included questions like, "What would happen if…?" and "Have you ever…?" Help child think hypothetically.
Competence Help the child develop plan. Help them think through how they will use the targeted strategy. Discuss appropriate times to use particular skill. Teach child to be self-regulated & active participant in own learning.

Modifiability is the way we describe the child's response to a MLE based on our observations during a teaching session. It is important to consider a child's modifiability when applying the MLE. Specifically, we are looking at child responsivity, transfer skills, and examiner effort.

Child Responsivity

  • How well does the child respond to the MLE?
  • Does the child attend to the task, and maintain attention?
  • Does the child demonstrate efficient learning strategies?
  • Does child use skills such as looking, comparing, and verbalizing?


  • How well does child apply the target skills from one item to the next?
  • From one task to the next?
  • Does child apply learned strategies soon after learning them?

Examiner Effort

  • How much support does the child need?
  • What is the nature of the support required?

Video Transcript

The other thing that we're doing during mediated learning is we're looking at child modifiability, and here we're describing what the child does in response to mediated learning. So we're looking at three things.

One is responsivity: How responsive is the child to intervention? Do they pay attention? Can they maintain attention to the task? Do they stay with you, or do they kind of lose focus? It's a very kind of a qualitative description of that child's response to the intervention.

The other is watching how they transfer. When you're focusing on some things, and you're doing vocabulary learning or special names learning with books, and you shift to another kind of activity, do they still remember what the goal is, or do you have to remind them of the goal? So can they transfer from one situation to another? Can they transfer from one mediated learning session to another mediated learning session 3 or 4 days later, or do you have to go back and start all over as though you never worked with them before?

The third area that we look at is examiner effort. And that is how tired are you as the examiner or as the person doing the intervention as the teacher, after or during the time that you're doing mediation. And I think we've all had these kind of clinical experiences where you go in, you work with the child, and they get it, they're very responsive, you don't seem to put in much effort and everything goes really smoothly, and it's very exciting to do that kind of learning.

You also, I think, have had experiences where you go in, you have this plan, and you can't get past the first or second point of your lesson plan because it's so hard and you have to put in so much effort, and you're exhausted or you're giving a lot of yourself in order for this child to be successful. And so we kind of gauge how much effort do you have to put in to this particular session for that child to demonstrate awareness of the task and for them to be responsive to that task

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