Personalized learning is an educational approach that aims to tailor learning to each student’s strengths, needs, abilities, and interests.
Based on what students know and how they learn best, they come up with a learning plan.
To get an idea of what personalized or individualized learning is, imagine a classroom whose educational approach is not “one size fits all”. The teacher does not give the same lessons to all students, but guides each one in their own learning process. The what, when, where, and how of learning is designed to meet the strengths , abilities, needs, and interests of each student.
Students can learn skills at different rates. However, their learning is aligned with grade level standards that set high expectations for all students.
That type of classroom is not the reality for most students. But it is the goal of personalized learning, which is being used successfully in some schools and is spreading in several states. Here’s what you need to know and also find at this website.
What is personalized learning
Every child learns in his or her own way and at his or her own pace. That is the foundation of personalized learning. A “learning plan” is created for each student based on how they learn, what they know, and what their interests are. The approach is a contrast to the “one size fits all” method used in most schools.
Students work with their teachers to set short-term and long-term goals, and this process helps them take responsibility for their learning.
Teachers ensure that learning plans or project-based learning is aligned with academic standards. In addition, they check whether students are demonstrating the skills they are expected to learn as they go through their schooling process.
Personalized learning is not a substitute for special education. It is a general education approach that works with a Individualized Education Program(IEP), with a plan 504, response to intervention (RTI), or other specialized intervention programs.
However, accessible accommodations , supports, and learning strategies need to be an integral part of personalized learning. If done correctly, all students will be more engaged in their learning and those who are struggling will get help sooner. If not implemented correctly, students with disabilities could fall further behind.
How personalized learning works
Schools using personalized learning may look different. But here are four models widely used in schools. Each of these models sets high expectations for all students and aligns learning with rigorous standards:
- Schools that use student profiles. These types of schools maintain an up-to-date record that offers a deep understanding of each student’s individual strengths, needs, motivations, progress, and goals. These profiles are updated much more frequently than standard report cards. Additionally, these detailed updates help teachers make decisions that positively impact student learning.
The profile also helps the student track their progress. It gives the teacher, the student – and in many schools – the parents a way to know if they need to change learning methods or goals before the student fails or makes no progress.
- Schools that use personalized learning paths. These types of schools help each student to individualize their learning process so that it responds or adapts to their progress, motivations and goals. For example, a school might create a schedule based on weekly updates on a student’s academic progress and interests.
Each student’s program is unique, but is likely to include various learning methods (often referred to as “modalities”). The mix may include project-based learning with a small group of peers, independent work on certain skills or complex tasks, and one-on-one tutoring with a teacher.
A personalized learning path allows the student to work on different skills and at different paces. However, that does not mean that the school will allow him to fall behind in any subject. Teachers carefully monitor each student and offer extra support if needed.
- Schools using proficiency-based progress. These types of schools continually assess students to monitor their progress toward specific goals. This system specifies what students need to master. These competencies include specific skills, knowledge, and the willingness to build resilience or have a grown mindset.
Students are offered options for how and when to demonstrate their knowledge. For example, a student might work with a teacher to demonstrate certain math skills in an internship at a business establishment.
The student could work on several skills at the same time. When he masters one, he moves on to the next, receiving the support or services he needs to master those skills. The emphasis is not on passing or failing an exam, but on continuous learning and having many opportunities to demonstrate knowledge of it.
- Schools that use flexible learning environments. This type of school adjusts the environment in which the student learns, based on how they learn best. That includes things like the physical aspect of the classroom, how the school day is structured, and how teachers are assigned.
For example, schools could look for ways to make it easier for teachers to have more teaching time in small groups. It’s not easy to redesign the way teachers use space, time, and resources in the classroom. But this kind of “ design thinking ” can make it easier for student needs to reshape the learning environment.
The potential of personalized learning
Personalized learning is not yet widely used in schools, and many aspects need to be explored. Yet this approach holds promise for reducing the stigma surrounding special education and meeting the needs of students with learning disabilities.
IEPs are often primarily focused on deficits, and personalized learning can balance that by focusing on the student’s strengths and interests. Together, the IEP and personalized learning can provide the supports for the student to work on his gaps and a tailored path that includes his interests and helps him “take charge” of his learning.
Personalized learning can also provide the opportunity for students to develop self-advocacy skills . It encourages them to talk about what interests them, and allows them to be equal partners in their learning experience.
Personalized learning has high potential, but it also has some risks. Teachers may not have enough inclusion training to make this approach accessible to all students. They might not know how to support kids who have executive functioning difficulties. They may not know how to track competencies or analyze other types of information about the student.
The key is to make sure that when schools start using personalized learning, teachers are trained to meet your child’s needs. And the more you know, the more you can participate in the conversation. Ready to learn more with top article.