Personalized learning doesn’t have to be scary.
Personalized learning is a phrase that’s going around education and spreading like wild fire. At first thought, it sounds amazing. Being able to provide every student with what they need, when they need it based on their interests and abilities, would be AWESOME!
However, when we try to figure out how to make this happen in our classrooms, it can become very intimidating. In order to avoid this, let’s look at a few basic tips that can get you started on the path to personalized learning in your own classroom!
Providing your students with choice is one of the easiest ways to personalize your students’ learning experiences. These choices can be on the activity or task itself, or maybe just how they show mastery of the tasks. The important aspect here is that you are providing opportunities for your students to have more control of their journey while in your classroom.
Now, you may be thinking this sounds like a lot of extra work, a lot of this can be done by simply providing options for your students. Instead of locking them into a single activity, provide them with an option to suggest another task, or another way to answer a question. With very limited additional time, providing a few options or alternatives can open up a world of possibilities.
It’s no secret how I feel about lecturing, but in terms of personalizing a learning experience for students, it’s probably about the worst way to individualize or meet their needs. If you limit lecturing to 10 – 15 minutes a day (max), and focus on providing active learning opportunities for students, you are by default, giving them more power and autonomy. This will also increase engagement, retention, and achievement. Look for simple ways to put the learning (and the accountability) in their hands.[scroll down to keep reading]
Let Students Set The Pace
One of the most universally simple ways to differentiate or personalize your students’ learning experiences is to let them work at their own pace. I don’t mean allowing them to “teach themselves”, nor should you expect them to, but providing a learning path they can work through it at their own pace can be an amazing way to personalize their learning experience.
Focus on Systems:
More than anything, you should focus on instructional systems and frameworks that can make the process easier. By setting easy to implement systems and routines, you can focus on facilitating and adjusting your instruction to meet the needs and interests of your students.
Remember, the goal of personalized learning is to provide every student what they need, when they need it, while taking into account their interests and level of mastery. This is only possible if an environment is created that allows this to occur. By focusing on systems that can accommodate self-pacing, active learning, and provision of choice for learners, you can create an environment that not only allows students to have more freedom, but that also helps them thrive and find themselves!
So the next time you hear the phrase “Personalized Learning,” instead of hiding in a corner or becoming overwhelmed with the thought of all the extra work, take some of these simple steps to make your classroom and the experience students have in it better.