Using IXL to improve problem-solving skills

Kate Myers is an IXL Professional Learning Specialist with five years experience as a middle school teacher.

Problem-solving skills help students build confidence and overcome obstacles in their learning. So when working through new material in the classroom, it’s important that kids have access to a full toolkit of accessible problem-solving skills. That way, they’ll be able to tackle anything that comes their way! 

Below, we’ll walk you through several ways that learners can improve their problem-solving skills using IXL. 

Embrace self-remediation

Confidence is the foundation of problem-solving skills. With the right growth mindset, students can fully embrace the tools they have on hand to self-remediate. For many students, working through a problem independently—rather than immediately turning to a teacher or parent to solve it for them—can help them better retain that knowledge for next time. 

IXL gives students the tools they need for self-directed problem solving. Let’s take a look at a few:

Learn with an example: When starting any new IXL skill, students have the opportunity to learn with an example, which takes students through a guided walk-through of an example problem. This tool shows them the exact question types they can expect, and outlines key concepts they’ll be asked to apply. 

  • Incorrect answer explanations: When a student answers a question incorrectly, they’ll encounter a similar tool that provides detailed explanations of where they went wrong on that exact problem. From here, the student can identify their own gaps in understanding, unlearn their mistakes, and directly apply that new understanding to future questions within the skill! 

Know when to review 

The key to building a useful problem-solving toolkit is knowing when to pivot to a different approach. If students have tried the above resources and are still having trouble, there are several tools that provide the extra support they need to get up to speed on their own: 

  • In-skill recommendations are skills that are foundational to the one they’re struggling with. By reviewing concepts and building their confidence, students can return back to the original skill with a better understanding of what’s needed to succeed on the next step. 
  • Lessons can be found at the bottom of math skill pages for 3rd grade – Algebra 1 or within in-skill recommendations. They’re perfect for reviewing material before or during skill practice. Like a compact study guide, each lesson introduces the topic, provides a high-level review of key vocabulary, and walks through example problems.

Putting it all together

There’s a reason why we call it a problem-solving “toolkit”—students are far more likely to succeed when they have a variety of resources to use! IXL makes it possible for students to learn and self-remediate independently. And each IXL tool goes hand-in-hand with the move-forward mindset they need, since every obstacle is an opportunity to deepen their understanding. 

Give your students the time, space, and tools they need to tackle problem solving on their own—you’ll be surprised at what they can accomplish!