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Individualized Learning and CBE

Individualized Learning and CBE

Author: Jody Waltman

In this lesson, you will be learning about individualized learning. You will investigate the idea of individualized learning plans and how individualized learning supports competency-based education.

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Source: Image of ILP, Fair Use, https://mncis.intocareers.org

Video Transcription

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In this tutorial, we'll discuss the connections between individualized learning, and competency-based education. We'll begin by defining the elements of individualized learning, and by exploring some best practices. We'll then talk about individualized learning plans, and the benefits of using these plans. Finally, we'll connect individualized learning with CBE. Let's get started.

First, what is individualized learning? Individualized learning involves customizing the content, pacing, and resources that you're using in your classroom, based on student interests and abilities. Adaptive learning is one form of individualized learning. Using this method, technology tools help students progress along their learning pathways according to their specific learning needs. This definitely already connects to competency-based education. Because in this format, a student demonstrates mastery of the current concept. And then the computer moves them along their learning path, perhaps to a more challenging piece of content, or more in-depth information. On the other hand, if a student demonstrates that they are having trouble with the current concept, the computer realizes this as well. And some options might be that the computer would send them to some alternate presentations of that content, or would maybe provide them with more practice opportunities until they do master the material.

Here are some best practices in individualized learning. Teachers and students need to collaborate to set clear and specific goals. These goals need to be challenging, but they still need to be realistic for each individual learner. These goals should be dynamic, that is we should be able to revise them as necessary. When you are doing regular reviews of goals and assessments of student progress in the classroom, these goals should be modified if that is appropriate. Individualized learning should promote motivation and independence. And it should promote students ownership of their own learning and progress.

And finally, individualized learning should involve parents in all different areas. In goal setting, in supporting students learning, and in communicating about student progress, for example. An individualized learning plan, or ILP, is a personalized document that allows students both to set goals, and track their progress. Items that might be included on an individualized learning plan include grades, skills, interests, current and past activities, and test scores.

Again, teachers and students collaborate to determine what will go on the plan. Then, students, parents, and teachers use the ILP to help plan for the future. This might include post-high school activities, like specific educational goals or career plans. Thinking about college and career readiness is definitely aligned with the same emphasis as it appears in the Common Core State Standards. Throughout this process, we're helping students to develop profiles that will inform their decision-making in middle school, in high school, and beyond. Always keeping in mind at the end goal is the achievement of the goals that they have set for themselves, with the help of their teachers and parents.

What might be some of the benefits of using individualized learning plans? Well, ILPs can help students to explore careers that are aligned with both their interests and their abilities. It provides students with the opportunity to practice setting goals, and tracking their own progress, as they progress through their school years. ILPs may incorporate service learning projects and other extracurricular activities. And it helps them to explore post secondary options that are aligned with their goals.

Finally, it provides one comprehensive place to assemble and store students' educational history, including assessment results and information from school administrators and counselors. Your district may employ its own unique ILP template. If you're interested in helping your students to create individualized learning plans, but a template isn't provided for you, there are some great templates available online. Ultimately, if your school employs a college and career readiness program, that particular program might also support the development of ILPs. Here's an example of an ILP that has been generated within a college and career readiness program.

Finally, let's explore the connections between individualized learning and competency-based education. Recall that these are the five design principles of competency-based education as developed by iNACOL. Principle one, students advance upon mastery. This is related to the goal setting elements of individualized learning. Goals need to be clear, specific, and challenging, yet also realistic. Design principle number two, for CBE, states that explicit and measurable learning objectives empower students. This also relates to that idea of goal setting. Students are more likely to be motivated, and to take ownership of their own learning, when clear learning objectives or goals are set. And this is especially true when they've had a hand in setting those goals.

CBE design principle three reads, assessment is meaningful, and a positive learning experience for students. In individualized learning, remember that goals need to be dynamic. That means that these goals should be able to be revised as necessary. And students are provided with multiple opportunities both to review their goals, and to review their progress towards them. Students need to receive rapid, differentiated support. Individualized learning is differentiated by its very nature. Also, ILPs allow us to formally plan for student support, based on individual learning needs.

Design principle five in CBE states that learning outcomes emphasized need to include the application and creation of knowledge. In individualized learning, the focus is definitely on mastery of competencies. And we create ILPs around students' specific skills and abilities. The particular activities that we design as part of this process can definitely focus on the application and creation of knowledge.

In this tutorial, we identified the elements of individualized learning. And we explored some best practices. We then talked about individualized learning plans, and the benefits of using ILPs. Finally, we examined the connections between individualized learning and competency-based education.

Here's a chance for you to stop and reflect. Is your school currently using a college and career readiness program that already would help to create individualized learning plans for students? If not, consider searching online for some templates that might be useful to you and your students.

For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please view the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The additional resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource. Thanks for joining me today. Have a great day.

Notes on "Individualized Learning and CBE"

(00:00 - 00:25) Introduction

(00:26 - 01:22) Elements of Individualized Learning

(01:23 - 02:10) Best Practices in Individualized Learning

(02:11 - 03:04) Individualized Learning Plans

(03:05 - 03:41) Benefits of Individualized Learning Plans

(03:42 - 04:16) Sample ILP

(04:17 - 05:59) Individualized Learning and CBE

(06:00 - 06:18) Review

(06:19 - 06:53) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

Personalization vs Differentiation vs Individualization Report

This report and accompanying slideshow by Personalize Learning is a useful overview of the differences and overlaps between these three strategies that often get confused with one another despite being very different.This is a helpful tool in understanding the important differences.

edSurge: Individualized Learning

This article provides helpful explanations as well as tech tools that teachers can use to support individualized teaching and learning in the classroom.