By Lani Aquino
Education is an evolving practice. In a world that is in a constant state of change through technology, industry, communication, and more, there isn’t a cookie cutter standard for preparing students for their futures. There is a need to prepare students to be thinkers and doers that can adapt to whatever the future may hold. Personalized learning does just this by creating an educational dynamic that strengthens student ownership and development of lifelong learning processes.
What is personalized learning?
Personalized learning has been mistaken for, lumped in with, and used interchangeably with a lot of other pedagogical methods. When true personalized learning is being practiced though, experts agree that there are five driving components. Insights from Future Ready Schools offers a compilation of personalized learning definitions, but it also pulls those five common factors. Through this practice, (1) adjustments to the pace of learning are made, (2) tailoring and optimization of learning objectives, approaches, content, and tools occur, (3) learner interests drive the learning, (4) what, how, when, and where learning occurs is chosen by the learner, and (5) technology often supports the learning process, although it does not have to be present for personalized learning to take place.
What tools and resources support personalized learning?
As with any form of pedagogy that is new to teachers and students, having a go-to resource collection can be invaluable. Stocking the toolkit with strategies and technological resources to enhance and manage the practice of personalized learning can make beginning or updating this instructional methodology much more accessible. This Beginner’s Guide to Personalized Learning shares a series of graphics that address the ways in which How?, What?, When?, Where?, and Why? factor into personalized learning and may help to answer questions pertaining to curriculum, delivery methods, students roles, and much more.
Tech Resources- These Top 9 Must Have Personalized Learning Apps, Tools, and Resources offer a variety of ways to manage and optimize personalized learning. Many of the platforms shared use learning analytics to adjust the instructional pace and tailor learning to each student. There are also several resources that allow students to delve into the learner interest component of personalized learning, and several platforms that foster a deepening of student understandings and optimization of self-regulation.
Easy-to-Implement Tools- Moving to personalized learning doesn’t require the purchasing of high-end resources and systems. Teach Thought’s 5 Tools and Strategies That Support Personalized Learning gives teachers some great entry points for incorporating this method. Placing a strong emphasis on different types of writing offers students exposure to a variety of formats for expressing their understanding. Through blogs, quick prompts, revisions, and metacognitive prose, students are able to build this essential communication method while building their mastery of concepts. Scaffolding learning targets allows students to meet concepts at a personalized level of understanding and building from there. With an affordable tool that scaffolds standards, this personalized strategy is much easier to implement.
Examples of Personalized Learning- Seeing an instructional method in practice and learning actionable strategies for implementation can take away some of the overwhelming elements. Six Examples of What Personalized Learning Looks Like gives teachers that needed glimpse into the ins and out of incorporating this method. The compilation of playlists (not the musical kind), flexible seating, videos highlighting the usage of digital content, self-reflection methods, and more are at the heart of this peek into personalized learning in action.
What does personalized learning do?
Making high-quality learning experiences accessible for all students is the very essence of personalized learning. As teachers become facilitators for students’ personalized learning journeys, students become more empowered to approach any learning scenario with a confidence and self-sufficiency that they can carry with them well beyond their classroom years and experiences. When students are given more responsibility and choice within the learning process, they become more responsible for and mindful of the intricacies involved in becoming lifelong learners in an ever-changing world.
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