“U-Pace” Instruction: Improving student success by integrating content mastery and amplified assistance

D. M. Reddy
H. M. Pfeiffer
R. Fleming
K. A. Ports
L. E. Pedrick
J. L. Barnack-Tavlaris
R. A. Swain
D. L. Jirovec
A. M. Helion
R. A. Swain


U-Pace, an instructional intervention, has potential for widespread implementation because student behavior recorded in any learning management system is used by U-Pace instructors to tailor coaching of student learning based on students’ strengths and motivations. U-Pace utilizes an online learning environment to integrate content mastery with Amplified Assistance (instructor-initiated, individually tailored feedback on concepts not yet mastered and constructive support that every student receives via email weekly or more often as needed). Evaluation findings for U-Pace instruction revealed that compared to conventional, face-to-face instruction, U-Pace instruction was associated with greater academic success for all students and reductions in the achievement gap for “disadvantaged” students. Additionally, “disadvantaged” U-Pace students showed improvements in the rate of content mastery and intrinsic motivation. Consistent with these indicators of improvement in self-regulated learning skills, U- Pace students reported greater improvements in their time management and study skills, greater control over their learning and a greater sense of achievement than conventionally-taught students. The convergence of findings from student reports, performance measures recorded within the learning management system, and objectively determined grades suggests U-Pace instruction holds promise for higher education.


Online Learning, Distance Education, Self-paced Learning, U-Pace Instruction, Student Success, Amplified Assistance, Mastery, Control, Academic Success


U-Pace is an online, behavioral-based pedagogical tool that teaches students habits to succeed in college. The program is personalized to individual students and focuses on students’ strengths and motivations. When the system was compared to face-to-face traditional instruction, U-Pace instruction was found to be reduce the achievement gap between “disadvantaged” students and increase overall student performance. Disadvantaged students also increased their rate of content mastery. Areas of increased student abilities included many desirable skills for future employers including: time management, sense of achievement, and study skills, and self-control of learning process.

APA Citation

Reddy, D. M., Pfeiffer, H. M., Fleming, R., Ports, K. A., Pedrick, L. E., Barnack-Tavlaris, J. L., Swain, R. A, Jirovec, D.L., Helion, A.M. and Swain, R.A. (2013). “U-Pace” instruction: Improving student success by integrating content mastery and amplified assistance. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17(1), 147-154.

About the Study

Links to Article https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C50&q=U-Pace+instruction&btnG=
Mode Technology-enhanced
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks
Type of Research Mixed methods
Research Design Action research, Survey research (qualitative or quantitative)
Intervention/Areas of Study Competency-based education or mastery-based, Personalized learning, Self-paced learning, Student readiness
Level of Analysis Student-level, Course-level
Specific Populations Examined Minority status
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest Academic achievement or performance, including assessment scores and course grades, Learning effectiveness, Program effectiveness
Student Sample Size 0-99
Citing Articles https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=9100237609184696329&as_sdt=5,50&sciodt=0,50&hl=en