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Personalized Learning

Personalized Learning

Author: Jody Waltman

In this lesson, you will learn about the elements of personalized learning and what instruction and assessment in personalized learning environments looks like. You will also consider how personalized learning and competency-based education are related.

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In this tutorial, we'll take an in-depth look at personalized learning. We'll begin with the definition of personalized learning. And we'll identify some of the benefits of personalization.

We'll also outline the key components of personalized learning. And we'll look at instruction and assessment in a personalized learning environment. Finally, we'll examine the connections between personalized learning and competency-based education. Let's get started.

First, what is personalized learning? The US Department of Education defines personalized learning as "an alternative to the one-size-fits-all model of teaching and learning." Furthermore, personalization refers to "instruction that is paced to learning needs, or individualized, tailored to learning preferences, or differentiated, and tailored to the specific interests of different learners. In an environment that is fully personalized, the learning objectives and content as well as the method and pace may all vary."

What are some of the benefits of personalized learning? Here are some common reasons why schools tend to use personalized learning techniques. It increases student engagement and provides opportunities for students to engage in authentic problem solving opportunities.

In personalized learning environments, students are empowered to take ownership of their own learning. And it allows for individualized pacing which facilitates deeper understanding of the content and skills. Personalized learning can also help us to effectively use technology that can take education beyond the classroom walls. And finally, personalized learning can help students to acquire 21st century skills.

Here are the key components or the essential elements of personalized learning. Personalized learning is flexible learning that can happen any time and anywhere. In a personalized learning environment, the teacher's role is redefined and expanded. The learning in this environment is authentic and project-based, and learning paths are student driven. Finally, progression and pacing in a personalized environment are competency or mastery-based.

Let's think about what instruction might look like in a personalized learning environment. One-to-one or small group instruction works very well for personalized learning. No matter what the format, clear learning targets are established and communicated to students. Instruction is both standards-based and competency-based. And there's an emphasis on high levels of engagement and interactive learning activities.

Instruction needs to be authentic presenting relevant content to students in order to pique their interests and keep them motivated . A teacher employing personalization uses a wide variety of resources and considers multiple learning styles as they're planning their instruction. Think about the learning style preferences of your students, including auditory, visual, kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal learners. And finally, a personalized learning environment uses student-centered questioning and discussion techniques.

What about the assessment in a personalized learning environment? Multiple types of assessment are employed. This includes frequent formative assessments.

The assessments that are used should measure proficiency and mastery of the competencies. And there should be frequent opportunities provided for students to demonstrate proficiency. Retakes should be made available for students who don't demonstrate mastery on the first try. And peer review and assessment should be utilized as well. Finally, assessment should be problem-based and authentic.

How then does personalized learning fit with competency-based education? Recall the five design principles of competency-based education as identified by iNACOL.

Students advance upon mastery. Explicit and measurable learning objectives empower students. Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students. Students receive rapid differentiated support. And learning outcomes emphasized include application and creation of knowledge.

Principle number 1 is related to instruction and assessment. Personalized instruction should be both standards-based and competency-based. Personalized assessment needs to measure proficiency and mastery, and students should have frequent opportunities to prove mastery or proficiency.

Design principle 2 is related again to both instruction and assessment. The connection to instruction and personalisation is that clear learning targets need to be present. The connection here to assessment is that assessment in personalized learning needs to measure proficiency and mastery using problem-based tasks and authentic assessments.

Design principle 3 is definitely related to assessment and personalized learning. Students should be provided with frequent opportunities to prove their proficiency, and they also need to be provided with opportunities for retakes. In the personalized learning environment, assessment tasks should be authentic and problem-based. And peer review should be implemented as well.

Design principle 4 is also related to assessment. Personalized learning definitely caters to multiple learning styles. And the student centered questioning and discussion techniques also helped teachers to identify and administer the differentiated support that is needed.

Finally, design principle 5 is related to instruction. The instruction in a personalized environment is interactive and creates high levels of engagement. Teachers using personalization are aiming to design instruction that is relevant both to the content and to the interests of their students. Tasks should be problem-based and assessments should be authentic.

In this tutorial, we took a thorough look at personalized learning. We defined the term "personalized learning," and we identified some of its benefits. We then examined the key components or essential elements of personalized learning. And we discussed what both instruction and assessment might look like in a personalized learning environment. Finally, we looked at the connections between personalized learning and competency based education.

So here's a chance for you to stop and reflect. Do you already use personalization techniques in your classroom? Can you see the links between personalized learning and competency-based education?

To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.

Notes on "Personalized Learning"

(00:00 - 00:30) Introduction

(00:31 - 01:04) Definition of Personalized Learning

(01:05 - 01:49) Benefits of Personalized Learning

(01:50 - 02:20) Key Components of Personalized Learning

(02:21 - 03:22) Instruction in Personalized Learning

(03:23 - 03:56) Assessment in Personalized Learning

(03:57 - 06:06) Personalized Learning and CBE

(06:07 - 06:31) Review

(06:32 - 07:02) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

Personalize Learning: Toolkit

This website offers helpful explanations and suggestions for personalizing learning in the classroom. The toolkit provides useful organizers, planners, and resources to help teachers understand and provide personalized learning experiences

Ten Tips for Personalized Learning via Technology

This Edutopia article is written from the perspective of a teacher, and provides useful suggestions on personalizing the technology rich classroom.