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The Renewed Push for Personalized Learning

  • 26 October, 2021
  • Reading Time: 5 min

What is personalized learning? Where did this new push for it come from?

Personalized learning is an educational approach that aims to customize learning for each student’s individual needs, skills, and interests. Every student has their own manner of absorbing and perceiving information that may not always coincide with the traditional teaching methods. Despite having the most experienced teachers and developed curriculum, some students’ needs may still go unnoticed. The personalized learning approach, on the other hand, gives students the choice about how to learn and advance their understanding based on their abilities and teacher recommendations. This teaching model is based on the different paces and ways kids learn. Students have individual “learning plans” for attaining mastery or understanding concepts. This strategy gives students autonomy over their learning and the accommodations, accessibility, and support they need to be successful on their educational journey.
 
Progressive education has increasingly incorporated personalized learning approaches into students’ daily development. Teachers and educational personnel witness that true learning happens when you tap into a student’s interests and passions and give them individualized opportunities to ask questions, explore, and take risks. If this has always been the case, why is there this sudden push now for personalized/customized learning?
 
The currently available technology , from immense amounts of data to online collaboration tools to social media- encourages educators to use new tools to customize student’s learning experiences. Education is not “one-size-fits all;” it never has been. With our technological resources and advancements as plentiful as ever, we have to work to provide the best and most efficient learning process for our students.

How does personalized learning work? What does it look like?

Personalized learning will vary from school to school, classroom to classroom and course to course. However, unique “learner-profiles” are created for each student. Learner-profiles are records of a student’s individual strengths, motivation, and goals. These profiles are updated much more often than a standard report card, and help students, teachers, and parents  track student progress and let them know when a change in learning methods must take place. This system makes it clear to students how they might learn the best methods to master their abilities. 
 
In a classroom setting, this strategy will take many/several diverseforms, shapes, and sizes. The individualized approachwill look different for each student, each lesson, and each subject. For  example, teachers can individually tailor different activities and research projects based on personal interests, aspirations, cultural backgrounds, or learning needs so that every student can grasp the lesson concepts.
 
The diversity of the existing technology presents countless methods for teachers to create, implement, and measure personalized lessons.Teachers can deliver instruction through engaging forms of media, including videos, audio clips, and interactive games. They can give students more options beyond traditional essays, posters, or reports. In fact, students can even come up with their own creative way of presenting their final work. Teachers can also use digital tools to gather immediate feedback on students’ understanding and use the information to customize subsequent lessons. Whether it be the data collected on how much time it took a student to complete a textbook reading, or how many times a student got a specific question wrong as opposed to another, technology allows for a more dynamic lesson plan. It puts students in more active and engaging roles in their education, particularly about how to collaborate and research, as well as how to generate, obtain, manipulate, interpret, and display information.
 

What are the benefits of personalized learning? Why is it important?

In traditional classrooms, teachers introduce new material, students practice it, take a test to demonstrate the knowledge gained, and then move forward. In this system, lagging students get left behind, while others are bored because they move faster than their peers. Personalized learning gives support to students to work on weaknesses and encourages them to speak about what interests them. With this approach, students are engaged with the right material and instruction to challenge them appropriately and get them to the next level. Student-driven learning projects have been shown to help students retain content longer and gain a deeper understanding of the curriculum than traditional classroom settings. As a result, a positive classroom environment will come about and students will strive to push themselves.

How do we actively move toward this? Where do we go from here?

First and foremost, we must understand that personalized learning is a practice and not a product that can instantly be adapted.However, there are simple ways to begin incorporating this approach. For example, we can look at specific course designs and identify areas that fail to make individual contact with students. We can use technology to identify needs and meaningful trends, lower classroom barriers, and increase one-on-one interactions between students and teachers. Teachers can decrease the amount of time spent in the classroom broadcasting announcements or events. With digital products and analytics, teachers can spend more time analyzing students’ homework assignments outside of class, therefore allocating class time to effective correct and explain their understanding during class time. Schools must pick the right tools that work for them and offer the technology support necessary.

Lastly and most importantly, successful incorporation of personal learning will require  extensive training of educators. We need to teach them how to track students’ competencies and effectively track data. This will be new for allbut we especially need our teachers there, prepared, and more than ever, for their guidance.

 

WRITTEN BY

Dhruv Das

Dhruv is a skilled EdTech professional who analyzes and evaluates programs and products in the Educational Technology space to adhere to valuable results.

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