Foundation of Learning: Personalized Learning

The article Implementations of technology enhanced personalized learning: Exploration of success criteria, concerns, and characteristics focused on the importance of personalized learning. This article discussed the reasoning behind this “movement” of personalized learning. It said, “There are limited resources that are forcing school districts to ask teachers to provide instruction to large classes, which forces teachers toward assembly line teaching (Rasberry, 1991). This style of instruction allows teachers to teach many students, but does not take into account the unique learning styles or background of each individual learner. Learning theory has shown various ways in which people learn, such as Project Based Learning, Constructivism, and Individualized instruction” (Gallagher, R. P. (2014). This leads to students falling further behind in grade level expectations and a greater gap in student achievement.

Teachers are swamped with pacing guides and standardized assessments to ensure we’re covering all of the standards students are expected to master. This notion of “covering” all the content is one in which I question. One could say that it’s been checked off the list as “covered”, however, was it really “fully covered” with all students? If the answer is no, how do I approach ensuring success for all learners?

This was addressed through personalized learning. Personalized learning’s first description was learning styles. “Research continues to show that people have diverse learning styles (Guild, 2001). Learning style diversity can be identified and included in planning for instruction (Stronge, 2004). Utilizing student specific learning styles in the instructional planning is more effective than providing a single mode of instruction (Green, 1999). As such, an understanding of learning styles is important to the definition of personalized learning” (Gallagher, R. P. (2014).

The second description was called adaptive learning. It stated, “In some cases, adaptive learning has been defined as allowing the student to choose their own path to mastery of specific learning objectives. In other cases, the definition has been narrowed somewhat, noting that learning should reduce the focus on specific learning objectives and allow learners to choose not only their path to the learning, but even what the learning might entail” (Gallagher, R. P. (2014). This related back to the TedTalk by Richard Calcutta. He described ways schools were implementing this type of instruction with the help of technology through what he called “adjusted pace”.

Calcutta spoke of a school using computers that identified where students were to work for the day and on which skills. Based on an end-of-day three-question quiz, in conjunction with homework grades, students were working with their own customized learning to skill mastery. This example really defined the difference of differentiated instruction and personalized learning for me.

While reading from Personalized Learning Practice, Technology use, and Academic Performance in K-12 Learner Centered Schools in the US, I gained a better understanding about the world of technology and it’s correlation to personalized learning. “The National Education Technology Plan also emphasizes the pivotal role that a technology system plays in PL by providing personalized instruction, continuously assessing students’ learning, and tracking their mastery of skills and competencies, and it is argued that a well-designed technology system based on PL design principles can enhance all students’ learning, including students from low- income communities and minorities” (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). Sturgis and Patrick (2010) (Lee, Dabae, 2014). By implementing this personalized learning approach in instruction students would be able to master skills with greater efficiency in instructional time as well as address wide range of learning styles.

The research on personalized learning sparks ideas and questions for me. I see the value in personalized learning in education and recognize that, like said in the TedTalk, technology creates creators. If this is true, how can I implement what skills students master in a way that relates to them so that their lessons are more meaningful?

References:

Gallagher, R. P. (2014). Implementations of technology enhanced personalized learning: Exploration of success criteria, concerns, and characteristics. (Order No. 3628787, Pepperdine University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 161. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/docview/1561139616?accountid=12598

Lee, Dabae. “Personalized Learning Practice, Technology use, and Academic Performance in K-12 Learner Centered Schools in the U.S.” Order No. 3712588 Indiana University, 2015. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 4 June 2016

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