The way in which educators approach teaching is ever-changing. We are becoming increasingly aware of the differences between students and how these differences affect learning. Students may have different rates at which they grasp concepts in class. They may have certain special needs or may have a hard time dealing with a crisis at home. The ever-changing classroom dynamics call for more innovative and inclusive strategies to get the best from our students.
Personalized learning is a strategy in education that aims at creating a unique learning experience for every student that considers their distinct needs, strengths, and weaknesses. The goal is to get the best possible outcomes in the most effective way.
In personalized learning, there are four major aspects which include flexible learning tools, targeted instruction, student reflection, and ownership, as well as data-driven tools.
Flexible learning tools
This is the first stage of personalized learning. This takes into account the diversity in the classroom and tailors the content and tools to meet each student’s individual needs. An educator should understand each student and establish what works best for them. Additionally, they could make adjustments to cater to every learner’s unique needs and abilities. Tools such as technology can be employed for teaching and monitoring student progress.
Learning objectives may be established based on the student’s capabilities and needs. The educator may create a plan for each learner or a group of learners with the set objectives in mind. This helps the educator to monitor progress, improvements, as well as the effectiveness of the learning tools employed.
Student reflection and ownership
Targeted instructions and goals are as good as how they are implemented. The student needs to understand what it is that they hope to achieve and how they intend to do so. This understanding can be enhanced by reflection. The educator can give students time for recollection and reflection during the class period or give allowance in a written plan for a student to reflect on and write down their thoughts, progress, and achievements.
By owning their goals and responsibilities, learners develop a sense of purpose, discipline, and accountability. They become more motivated and consequently produce better outcomes.
Student progress can be quantified or monitored for the purpose of decision-making. Progress may be in the form of grades in tests or attitudes towards certain subjects and general behavior. Student data may help establish patterns and indicators that influence the educator’s approach to teaching. This data may tell whether a certain approach is effective, whether to continue with it or adopt a different approach with a potentially better outcome. Data may be obtained from a range of sources such as a series of test results or student surveys, depending on the available resources.
For personalized learning tools to work, it takes a lot of time and learning for both the teacher and other stakeholders. The process can be gradual, but if it is well-executed, improvements can be tremendous, and the learners benefit the most.