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Action Planning in Personalized Learning Environments

Action Planning in Personalized Learning Environments

Author: Jody Waltman

In this lesson, you will learn how to empower students to own their own learning through the use of PDSA and or Action Plans

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Source: Images of Action Plan templates, created by Jody Waltman

Video Transcription

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In this tutorial, we'll see what action planning might look like in a personalized learning environment, using the Plan, Do, Study, Act cycle.

We'll begin with a definition of an action plan, and we'll see how to create an action plan template. We'll look at a sample completed template. And then we'll connect the action plan template to personalized learning. Let's get started.

First, what is an action plan? An action plan can be used by a single student or by the whole class to track their progress toward targeted goals. An action plan tracks the specific timelines on the path to the targeted goals, the resources that will be needed, the people who will be involved, and the evaluation tools that will be used to assess progress.

An action plan is one of the 10 Baldrige Quality Tools for education. And an action plan supports both continuous improvement and the Plan Do Study Act cycle, as it helps students keep track of what they're doing in class on a daily basis and how they're progressing towards their goals.

It can be helpful to provide students with a template to use in creating their action plans. An action plan template should identify the specific goal that the student is working towards. Students should determine the steps that are needed to reach that goal. And a targeted completion date should be identified on the action plan.

The template should include a blank chart that students can fill in with tasks, assessments and a timeline. And another chart maybe included for tracking data, such as scores on individual assignments.

Here are a couple of sample action plan templates.

Note that the templates are definitely aimed at different student populations, but both include the basic elements of an identified goal, the steps and resources needed to meet that goal, a projected completion date, and an opportunity for reflection. In one case, just a simple, yes, I met my goal, or no, I didn't, and in the other case, with space provided at the bottom of the action plan for the student to write a reflection.

Let's see how a student might complete each of these action plans. This student has a goal of using trigonometric ratios to solve right triangles. The student will record the specific steps that he or she will take in order to make progress towards the goal and will indicate the resources, including people and things, that he or she will need access to for each individual step.

Finally, the student will indicate a projected completion date. And upon completion of all of the steps, the student will indicate whether or not the goal was met.

Here's what the more detailed action plan might look like in its completed form. Note that the student recorded a few simple reflection statements at the bottom of the page.

An action plan is a great fit for a personalized learning environment. Let's look at some of the finer points.

A personalized learning environment includes flexible learning that is not limited to the classroom walls or the class period as it appears in the school schedule. Similarly, the tasks that students include on their action plan do not need to be limited to things that are going to happen in the classroom. They can include activities outside of class, as well, as long as those activities support their work towards their current learning goal.

As a teacher in a personalized learning environment, you can monitor students' use of their action plans and help them evaluate their own progress.

Authentic and project-based learning can absolutely be included on an action plan. In fact, depending on the individual student and the task, an authentic or project-based task may be included as one item on the action plan, or it may be divided up into smaller chunks that each receive their own listing on the action plan.

A student-driven learning path works wonderfully with an action plan, as it helps the student to take ownership of their own progress.

And finally, competency-based progression and pacing are enhanced by the use of an action plan. A student can see exactly where he or she is on the path to mastery of the current skill. And in a personalized learning environment, the student will know that upon mastery of this skill, an action plan will be developed for the next skill on the learning path.

In this tutorial, we examined action planning in a personalized learning environment, keeping in mind that an action plan is one of the Baldrige 10 Quality Tools for Education, and that an action plan supports continuous improvement and PDSA, or the Plan, Do, Study, Act cycle.

We reviewed the definition of an action plan. We looked at a few sample templates, including what they might look like in their completed form. And finally, we examined how an action plan can fit into a personalized learning environment.

As you reflect on how this new information can be applied, you may want to explore the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. This is where you'll find links to resources chosen to help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly acquired skill set.

Thanks for joining me today. Have a great day.

Notes on "Action Planning in Personalized Learning Environments"

(00:00 - 00:23) Introduction

(00:24 - 01:06) Action Plan Definition

(01:07 - 01:38) Create an Action Plan Template

(01:39 - 02:16) Sample Blank Templates

(02:17 - 03:02) Sample Completed Templates

(03:03 - 04:31) Action Plans and Personalized Learning

(04:32 - 05:04) Review

(05:05 - 05:25) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

A Guide for Implementing Personalized Student Learning Plan (PSLP) Programs

The New Jersey Administrative Code defines a Personalized Student Learning Plan as a “formalized plan and
process that involves students setting learning goals based on personal, academic and career
interests beginning in the middle school grades and continuing throughout high school with the
close support of adult mentors that include teachers, school counselors, and parents” (N.J.A.C.
6A:8). This plan can be used as a guidance document for schools interested in establishing personalized learning plans for their students based upon the New Jersey Department of Education model.

Developing, monitoring and reporting on personal learning goals 

This is a comprehensive plan for developing, monitoring, and reporting on student personalized learning goals. Beginning on page 41 are useful templates for schools interested in goal setting for and monitoring of a personalized learning experience for their students.