What is Personalized Learning and Does It Really Work?

According to understood.org, personalized learning is an approach through which learning is formatted accordingly with the student’s academic skills, strengths, interests and needs. This does not mean that students receive varying lessons in class, this means that students may have options on how to learn and participate in class.

There are various ways through which personalized learning can be promoted. One popular way is through technology. The use of gadgets such as tablets, smart phones and other visual and audio electronic devices assist students through flexible accessibility to learning materials and tools.  

What are some strategies in using personalized learning?

According to the report of Pane, Steiner, Baird and Hamilton in 2015, there are 5 major strategies in implementing personalized learning in class. These 5 major strategies are discussed below as follows:

1. Asses learner profiles.

This is an important strategy of personalized learning, this is how a teacher can assess a student’s academic skills, strengths and needs, and thus accordingly determine the appropriate individual and collective strategies that should be used in teaching. Teachers can rely on data such as formative assessments, quizzes, tests, and projects in determining profiles of students.

Although students differ, individual classes may have their respective collective approaches which enable personalized learning in the class.

2. Determine personal learning paths.

Using this strategy, students are allowed to participate in the choice of content or methods to be used in class. This strategy also involves communicating with the students individually to determine their learning needs in terms of content and enrichment.

3. Impose flexible learning environment.

Upholding personalized learning rests upon strategies with flexible methods and approaches. This means using techniques that are able to address student academic needs. One key tool to flexibility in learning is the use of technology. The components of which allow students to personalize their respective approaches to acquisition and processing of data.

4. Emphasize college and career preparedness.

Flexibility plays a crucial role for students’ journey towards their college education or career path. It assists them in the discovery of their skills, strengths and interests that can help them determine their respective direction towards their future college education and career.

In order to do this, students should have activities such as career tests, career-oriented internships, and career-centered seminars. Also, schools’ curriculum should also have lessons that help develop competencies such as “habits of mind”, “learner identity” and activities that help hone non-cognitive skills such as conscientiousness, perseverance, cooperation and teamwork.

5. Implement competency-based progression.

This strategy includes continuality of assessment as students progress towards their learning goals. Competency under this strategy hence is measured and assessed progressively through different forms such as quizzes, major exams, projects and presentations. Grade credit for the subject is accounted by the time the student finally acquires the necessary competency needed, meaning students progress accordingly with their respective capacity.

There’s more! If you want to improve your critical thinking in academic writing you may want to click on: 5 Tips on How to Improve Critical Thinking Skills in Academic Writing.

Does Personalized Learning Really Work?

There are several studies that say it does.

According to the study of Huang, Liang, Su, and Chen in 2012, personalized learning works more effectively with the use of electronic books (e-books). The use of e-books help cultivate personalized learning among children through the accessibility, unique and the personalized use and function of e-books.  E-books also help establish further connection between the students and instructors or professors. 

While in a study by Chen in 2008 tackles how technology can be utilized in creating more effective personalized learning approaches. The study proposed a “genetic-based personalized learning path generation scheme for individual learners” this technology supports personalized web-based learning as opposed to learning through free web browsing. Innovations like this can further strengthen personalized learning.

Finally the report of Pane, Steiner, Baird and Hamilton in 2015, stipulates how numerous schools show positive results statistically in terms of assessment results and achievement growth through implementing personalized learning. 

Conclusion

We have seen how there are new strategies that can be applied in implementing personalized learning in classrooms with multiple students with varying skills, strengths, interests and academic needs. We have also seen how some studies show how effective and efficient personalized learning can be in the academic field.

Throughout the years, educational methods and strategies have evolved gradually. Educational systems have started deviating away from traditional approaches alongside with the emergence of technological advancement including swiftly evolving electronic gadgets used in learning. These changes have also adjusted accordingly with how students also change overtime.

Sources:

Chen, C. M. (2008). Intelligent web-based learning system with personalized learning path guidance. Computers & Education, 51(2), 787-814.

Huang, Y. M., Liang, T. H., Su, Y. N., & Chen, N. S. (2012). Empowering personalized learning with an interactive e-book learning system for elementary school students. Educational Technology Research and Development, 60(4), 703-722.

Pane, J. F., Steiner, E. D., Baird, M. D., & Hamilton, L. S. (2015). Continued Progress: Promising Evidence on Personalized Learning. Rand Corporation.

 

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