Today, one of the most discussed strategies in education is personalized learning. Public, private and charter schools all over the country are experimenting with new approaches to personalized learning and figuring out the best ways to tailor instruction to the requirements and desires of individual students.
To better understand the concept of personalized learning, try to imagine a classroom that doesn’t have a “one size fits all” approach to education. The teacher doesn’t lead all students through the same lessons and books. Rather, the teacher guides each student on an individualized journey. The what, where, when and how of learning is tailored to meet the strengths, skills, needs and interests of each student.
Technology has made personalized learning both more approachable and more challenging, compelling schools to draw a clear line about where to separate good pedagogy from tools that encourage it.
Students might learn some skills at different paces. But their learning plans still keep them on track to meet the standards for a high school diploma.
That kind of classroom isn’t the reality for most students. But it’s the final goal of personalized learning, which is already being used successfully in some schools and is expanding in various states.
What is Personalized Learning?
Children learn in various manners and at different paces, and personalized learning is a teaching model based on that premise. Every student gets a plan of learning based on his learning capacity, what he knows, and what his skills and interests are. It’s exactly the opposite of the “one size fits all” approach adopted in the majority of the schools.
Students work with their teachers to set both short-term and long-term objectives. This process enables students to take ownership of their learning.
Teachers ensure that the learning plans or project-based learning match up with academic standards. And they check to see whether students are demonstrating the skills they’re expected to learn as they progress through their education.
Characteristics of Personalized Learning
Students have more responsibility for their learning. Students have a voice and make choices with their teachers about the ways in which they can learn the best.
Anytime, anywhere learning
Teachers make opportunities for students to learn both insides as well as outside the traditional classroom and school day. Students are able to learn in numerous manners from internships to museums, and location-based learning experiences in the community as well as through digital learning opportunities. This empowers teachers to personalize learning and enhance access to resources for student learning.
Students move to another class when ready
Students have clear learning goals every day. Once a student has mastered these learning objectives, they show what they know and can perform. This is assessment for learning. Once a student shows that they learned a particular knowledge or skill, they can move on to their next goal. Students don’t move ahead to another class until they have mastered a skill. Tests and assessments serve an ongoing purpose to provide teachers and students information about each learner. The assessments allow teachers to know when students need more practice so they can offer additional support to those students.
Knowledge above grades
Teachers are more concerned about what students are learning and how they obtain knowledge rather than preparing for a semester examination. Teachers produce opportunities for students to develop important skills, like collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking. Students communicate progress on goals and work towards achieving their goals through personalized methods that fabricate significant knowledge and skills.
Ways in which Personalized Learning works
Remember two schools adopting personalized learning will not look exactly the same. But here we have listed some widely used models that schools follow. Every one of these models sets elevated expectations for all students and aligns their learning to a set of rigorous standards.
Schools with learner profiles
This kind of school keeps an up-to-date record that gives a deep understanding of individual strengths, needs, motivations, progress and goals of each student. These profiles are updated undeniably more frequently than a standard report card. And these detailed updates enable teachers to make decisions that impact student learning positively.
A learner profile also helps students in keeping track of their own progress. It gives the teacher, the student and, in many schools, the parent a method to know if they need to change a learning pattern or make changes to goals before the student performs poorly or fails.
Schools with personalized learning methods
This type of school enables each student to customize a learning method that responds or adapts his progress, motivations and goals. For example, a school might make a timetable as per the preference of a particular student on the basis of weekly updates about his academic progress and interests.
Schedule of each student is unique, but it’s probably going to include several learning methods. The mix might incorporate project-based learning with a small group of peers, independent work on particular skills or complex tasks, and one-on-one tutoring with a teacher.
A personalized learning path empowers a student to work on different skills at different paces. But that does not mean the school will let him fall far behind in any area compared to others. Teachers closely keep an eye on each student and provide extra support if needed.
This type of school constantly surveys students to monitor their progress toward particular goals. This system helps students in clearly understanding what they need to master. These abilities include particular skills, knowledge and mindsets like creating resilience.
Students are given alternatives to how and when to demonstrate their dominance. The student might work on several competencies simultaneously. When he masters one, he proceeds on to the next. The student gets the support or services he requires to master a particular skill. The emphasis is not on taking a test and getting a passing or failing grade, rather, it’s on learning continuously and having many chances to show knowledge.
Flexible learning environment
This type of school adapts the environment students prefer learning in, on the basis of how they learn the best. That includes things such as the physical setup of the class, how the school day is organized and how the teachers are allocated.
Teachers will have to design everything they do according to the requirements of a student and the environment and designing thinking is not an easy task. They have to make the maximum use of the resources available in the classrooms to align their teaching to the needs of the students. Schools will have to give teachers more time and fewer students to perform their tasks in a perfect manner.