What is Personalized Learning?
Personalized learning means that learning starts with the learner. Learning is tailored to the individual needs of each learner instead of by age or grade level. It is more than teaching to “one size fits all” or just moving to learner-centered learning and changing instruction. Personalized Learning takes a holistic view of the individual, skill levels, interests, strengths and challenges, and prior knowledge. The learner owns their learning. Check out Personalize Learning.
Why we need to move to Personalized Learning?
Schools were designed around the factory model which has been in place for over 100 years. US schools are based on this model AND focus on teaching to the test. Learners are unchallenged and unengaged by traditional models so they are searching for any alternative that they know: online courses, home schools, and/or dropping out. As a result, schools are closing, teachers are being laid off and communities are suffering.
However, each person is unique and needs to be taught in a personalized fashion. After years of teaching “one size fits all,” and seeing it fail, learners are demanding to meet their personal needs. We cannot teach out-dated strategies to prepare learners for the future. Instead, we need to create a different mindset to teach to the individual, not collective.
The learner needs guidance to break out of the dependent role and become owner of their learning. Personalizing learning will help your students increase their scores because they will own their learning. As a result, they will use higher-order thinking skills that they will need to be global citizens and marketable in today’s workplace.
What does Personalized Learning look like?
A personalized learning environment is more competency-based where students progress at their own pace instead of by grade levels. No more “mandated” seat time. The learner has their own learning path with multiple strategies to meet their different learning styles. This changes the teacher role and the whole learning environment. School doesn’t look like “traditional school” anymore.
Learners are co-designers of the curriculum with the teachers. Teachers are co-learners with the learners. The teacher doesn’t have to be the hardest working person in the classroom; the learners need to be. They want to learn because they chose the topic and understand what they need to learn. They want to succeed so they try harder. They succeed because they designed their learning goals.
Why has it been so tough to move to Personalized Learning?
Teachers were not taught to teach personalized learning strategies or understand how they can do incorporate it within the constraints of all they are expected to do. Teachers need help in designing the learner profile and strategies that encourage students to own and drive their learning.
Administrators, parents and learners are all essential pieces of the puzzle. Parents know their children but only know how they themselves were taughtand are not aware of learner-centered strategies. Additionally, administrators have so much to do and are overwhelmed with the task of just managing the school. Teachers are busy with full class sizes and testing demands and students are bored.As a result, many schools feel It is easier to continue with the same, old traditional school fundamentals even if it is not improving test scores or preparing children for what they need. Therefore, to procure this change, an educational consultant is needed who can both create and help implement the personalized learning vision.
Want to personalize learning for your students?
Barbara Bray has worked with numerous schools and districts implementing personalized learning strategies through the nation and worldwide. Barbara Bray can help you and your school:
- Design and implement an assessment to determine current status of teachers, students, and school community.
- Facilitate the shared vision of your new direction.
- Work with teachers to design learner profiles for your students.
- Provide background and research on personalized learning and what it could look like in their school.
- Coach teachers on the design of first project with student voice and choice.
- Model project for teachers that want to move cautiously and provide ongoing virtual coaching.
- Assist teachers and students in co-designing the curriculum with open-ended questions.
- Demonstrate how to make this change in the classroom.
- Coach students to be the technology experts on multiple tools and applications and how to create tutorials.
- Video the process and interview teachers and students.
- Coordinate a showcase and online area to demonstrate evidence of learning.
- Design and implement a post-assessment to measure success.
Personalized learning makes it fun to to be in the classroom. To learn more about personalized learning and how you can engage your students, read Barbara’s 11 Tips of Personalized Learning.