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Love Your Sequence of Learning

One of the key aspects highlighted by The Great Teaching Toolkit is that a sequence of learning has dependencies; when acquiring one piece of knowledge depends on another already being in place. This is when we see a correct sequence begin to reveal itself. This ‘seeing’ is important. It is the seeing that leads to the cognitive organisation of parts, then a deeper understanding of the interrelated parts. This is content knowledge. However, this content knowledge is all just intent unless one also knows how to get this content across to learners. Not any content, but this content; with all its specific and nuanced detail at the very heart of the bespoke transmission of knowledge from expert to novice. In this way, the atomised content knowledge blends with an extraction of the relevant features of more generic pedagogical knowledge to produce pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). Although it can’t exist without it, the PCK brings the sequence of learning to life!

This is why you must love your correct and detailed sequence of learning; the highest possible quality of teaching arises out of it. Here are four pedagogical places that it immediately clears the path towards:

i) Increasing learning opportunities; once dependencies are lined up through a sophisticated sequence, essential background knowledge can be tracked and checked to a truly meaningful degree. The basic idea that teaching builds new knowledge upon prior knowledge is then systemised and actualised. The impact of this is that learning opportunities for all students are maximised.

ii) Cognitive Load Theory (CLT); beyond the ordering of dependencies is the construction of learning tasks and activities that are built through the teacher’s PCK. A major part of this design is ensuring progression by reducing the intrinsic cognitive demand. Then, preparing for the reduction of scaffold and structure as the learner moves gradually into more independent exploration of increasingly unfamiliar contexts.

iii) Responsive teaching; the ambitious teacher aims to strongly guide their students along the sequence; constantly using questions and activities to reveal thinking that the teacher can then respond to in respect of this ambition. As Dylan Wiliam has been telling us for years, responsive teaching within a framework of cognitive progression is everything. Clearly, with increased PCK comes an enhanced ability to trigger and expose student cognition, to respond with impact and therefore to demand more of learners. As the truth of teaching becomes revealed further, Wiliam’s work appears to become ‘more true’.

iv) Retrieval practice; the more correct and detailed the sequence of learning, the easier it is for simple retrieval systems to be designed that increase the impact on embedding learning for the same expenditure of resource. Low stakes quizzes can be made more accurate, automatic and useful. The chronology within a sequence of learning also reveals precise points where current learning will be retrieved and transferred to new and unfamiliar contexts. Here, learning is simultaneously reinforced and extended…a win-win!

Of course, an atomised and correct sequence of learning sounds labour intensive. However, it’s not so much for a teacher to create but rather to acquire, and to study, and then to engage, with others, in the incremental refinement of it; in a Kaizen-type model. Even individual schools, or groups of schools, may not have the internal capacity to design and produce the high-performance engine. This is where EdTech comes in. More accurately, this is when EdTech comes in. For years, technology has threatened to transform teaching but hasn’t. Yet, now there is purpose. For, it is only a digital solution that can scale up the sharing of CLT-driven atomised sequences of learning in a way that provides resource, access and use, whilst avoiding increased workloads, and yet inherently shifting teacher attention to an enhanced use of Wiliam’s responsive teaching framework.

Trust Improvement Lead, North East

I have been hugely impressed by the level of forensic thinking that sits behind WWN. It is far from a simple programme, but rather an approach that is rooted in robust evidence of how number can be taught in a way that is accessible to all pupils. WWN offers a cohesive and evidence-informed approach to teacher-development too. It is clear that WWN has been created by people who understand school leadership, curriculum design, teaching and learning.


Maths Leader, Dubai

Winning With Numbers is easy to use and it clearly shows progress in learning. It is helping to bridge gaps, challenge students and achieve targets in maths across the school. Students and parents are able to follow the learning journey and are eager to complete WINs. There is a real buzz at our school as students achieve their WINs, we are absolutely loving the WWN app! :)


Y3 Teacher, Cardiff

Anything by Ben gets my vote! It is great to see something that has been created by someone who understands children, teachers, workload and numeracy. Through Ben's expertise, I have improved my skills in teaching maths and he has made me want to teach maths rather than fear it. This is exactly what we want for children also.


Maths Leader, Harrogate

The Winning With Numbers training was fantastic, we learned so much and have been really inspired. I'm still blown away with how brilliant the platform is and I'm excited to be getting going with it. It has already made a big difference in our school.


Class Teacher, West Wales

What Ben doesn't know about maths and the way we teach it...!!! His huge amount of expertise and experience has been a game changer for the way we teach maths! His programme makes us think differently about maths and both staff and students now really enjoy teaching and learning in this key subject.


Tutor, Northumberland

I love the simplicity of Winning with Numbers - the focus on putting in place the small building blocks of mastering foundational maths skills, in a very ordered way. I also love how there are ways for a student to review a topic if they feel they need to; giving them some ownership of their learning. This programme is a great addition to my tutoring sessions.


Deputy Headteacher, London

WWN is a highly effective programme that is deeply rooted in the science of learning with the pay off that teacher workload is minimised. It ticks all the boxes! We have seen progress maximised in each session and within a few weeks of teaching WWN.


Home-Educator, South Wales

My daughter is really enjoying Winning With Numbers and it is showing me the gaps she has in her knowledge. It has been really good going back to fill the gaps. She loves getting the celebration videos when she does well. She smiles so much! I never thought it meant this much to her but it definitely does! I would definitely recommend.


Parent, Bridgend

My son is loving it! As a teacher, I know he is getting what he needs and it is great to have something my son can work through on his own. The timer is a really helpful option. He has first built his confidence and then we can add to the challenge by using the timer option. Thank you!


Tutor, Ireland

All the students I work with are loving Winning With Numbers and the 'Be the Expert' videos are brilliant for preparing me for each session.


Partners & Awards

Winning With Numbers works to collaborate with others to improve the life chances of young people.  Winning With Numbers is delighted to partner with some highly effective organisations .  If you would like to partner with us, please do get in touch.