Graduate Certificate in Education (Learning Difficulties) program

Places will be available in early 2022 for teachers to undertake online postgraduate study in Learning Difficulties.

Course objective

The Graduate Certificate in Education (Learning Difficulties) will deepen the disciplinary knowledge and pedagogical practice of teachers, so they have the skills, expertise, and confidence to meet the needs of all students, including students with dyslexia and dyscalculia, through contemporary, evidence-based strategies and fidelity of practice.

Program overview

In Application Round 1 2022, the program will have 75 places available for learning specialists, leading teachers, and classroom teachers with VIT Full registration in mainstream Victorian government primary and secondary schools.

The first round of opportunities will open on Tuesday 1 March and close on Tuesday 29 March 2022, with the study commencing in Semester 2 (July) 2022.

Successful recipients will gain a fully-funded place in the program through the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) at the University of Melbourne. Recipients will have the opportunity to engage with MGSE's recognised experts in Learning Difficulties.

Full details about eligibility, the application process, and the detailed course structure will be available in late 2021. Schools will be notified as program details are confirmed later in 2021.

Watch this space for updates over the coming months.

Graduate Certificate in Education (Learning Difficulties) - Course Outline

Course objectives

The GCE will develop understandings of learning difficulties and interactions between different types of learning difficulties, including dyslexia and dyscalculia.

GCE recipients will enhance their skills in classroom assessment, including the administration of screening tools, probes, checklists and informal measures, alongside commonly used standardised tests, in order to augment goal setting, instructional choices and responsiveness to learning difficulties.

Data-based decision-making, ongoing progress monitoring, and the provision of increasing levels of support for learners in classrooms, schools and systems will be framed using multi-tiered prevention logic. Inclusive pedagogies such as Universal Design for Learning, differentiation, and matching adaptations to student needs will be explored.

This course will also examine how to leverage teacher collaboration in a professional Community of Practice to improve instructional effectiveness and student outcomes.

Recipients completing this course will:

  • deepen their knowledge and extend their understanding of research and practice relevant to learning difficulties, including dyslexia and dyscalculia
  • acquire a substantial understanding of theory and instruction, intervention and assessment practices related to learners with literacy and numeracy difficulties
  • become familiar with a range of published resources and research relevant to understanding and addressing learning difficulties
  • develop the skills necessary to impact practice in their setting and share knowledge with others, including their colleagues
  • remain up-to-date and translate research to practice for learners with learning difficulties, including dyslexia and dyscalculia.

Overview of subjects

The course is structured around four 12.5 credit point subjects. The course can be studied over 4 semesters of study (2 years) or 2 semesters of study (1 year). Graduates of this course will receive 50 credit points of Advanced Standing (or Recognition of Prior Learning) towards the Master of Learning Intervention Stream A.

Subject 1 - Learning Foundations

This subject explores student learning across the school years from a developmental perspective in order to understand how all students learn.

It also investigates how difficulties with learning arise related to cognitive processes like attention, information processing, executive functioning and working memory. Understanding the importance of oral language as a basis for literacy and learning is foundational to this subject. The relevance of the science of learning to classroom interactions will also be investigated, with a particular focus on the use of evidence-based principles of instruction and multi-tiered logic in support of effective differentiated practice for diverse learners.

Subject 2 - Learning Difficulties in Literacy

This subject draws on contemporary theories of literacy learning difficulties and examines their underpinning assumptions and implications for assessment, instruction, intervention, engagement and the wellbeing of learners.

Specifically, an explicit structured approach will be taken to ensure GCE students understand the importance of building the foundational skills of oral language, phonology, sound-symbol associations as well as morphology, semantics, syntax and discourse-level processes across reading and writing. Relevant diagnostic and instructional models will be critiqued in terms of their theoretical bases, empirical support, and implications for implementation.

Subject 3 - Learning Difficulties in Numeracy

This subject draws on developmental, cognitive and neurocognitive perspectives to examine learning difficulties, including dyscalculia, in mathematics and implications for assessment, instruction, intervention, engagement and wellbeing.

Relevant diagnostic and instructional models will be critiqued in terms of their theoretical bases, empirical support and implications for implementation. Specifically, an explicit structured approach using the concrete-pictorial-abstract model to build essential knowledge of mathematical concepts will be examined.

Subject 4 - Guiding Change for Inclusive Practice

This subject examines school improvement initiatives that will enhance inclusion, facilitate access, foster participation, and prompt progress towards educational goals for all learners.

Global conventions, local legislative frameworks, policies and resources for supporting learners with disabilities and learning difficulties will be explored. Inclusive pedagogies, framed by multi-tiered prevention logic, will be examined and applied to educational settings. Candidates will assess their own educational setting, explore gaps between theory and practice in supporting learners with learning difficulties and develop an action plan for change that will lead to improvements in teacher quality and learner outcomes.

1 University of Melbourne approval of this course is in progress. Course details are indicative and subject to change.

Relevant Professional Learning

Interested in getting a head start on understanding Learning Difficulties? Check out the Department's Learning Difficulties webpages.

Or explore these modules in the Inclusive Classrooms Professional Learning Catalogue

Information about Disability Inclusion and related programs

Contact the Inclusive Education Scholarships Unit (IESU)