Developing an IEP to Reflect Active Learning

For school-aged students in public education, the Individual Educational Program (IEP) is a critical document for guiding all instruction.  It is in effect the legal document that spells out a variety of things that will be provided to the child in the school setting. The IEP is developed by a team of individuals who have knowledge of the student and work with the student. This team also includes the student and parents or legal guardians.

Assessment and evaluation serve as a basis for determining programming and services the student will need. Agreement on the content of the IEP is by consensus and the parents, student and educational staff are given a process to reach consensus if there is a disagreement. To learn more about the process in general we encourage you to visit the Parent Information and Resources website at

When planning for a student for whom Active Learning is an appropriate approach because of his or her developmental level (less than 48 months) it is helpful and important to include specific things in the child’s IEP. This section of the Active Learning Space website is meant to help family members and educators learn more about how to specify the use of an Active Learning approach and equipment in the IEP.

What Should Be Included in an IEP?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides clear guidance for the development of a student’s IEP. Let’s look at these sections of the IEP and consider how we can address an Active Learning approach throughout the IEP. These include:

We should also consider how to develop the IEP so that goals and benchmarks or objectives align with the general or standard academic curriculum which is also required by law.

Students who are visually impaired or deafblind also need instruction in the Expanded Core Curriculum. Active Learning is an approach that can be used to provide instruction in this curriculum for students who are sensorimotor or early pre-operational level learners.



An IEP team meeting to develop the student's IEP.