March 14, 2019
The Most Important Reasons Why Students Need Personalized Learning
Think about how much the world has changed in the last decade. Next, consider the endless learning opportunities available to students when they are placed in a technology-rich environment. Today’s students have much greater access to information than past generations. As educators continue to discuss how they can best prepare students to survive in the modern world, the conclusion most often reached is that personalized learning should fit their needs, strengths, passions, and interests.
Although technology plays a key role in personalized learning, it’s the teachers' cultivation of the technology in the classroom that leads to success. While there are several models of personalized learning, the goal of each is to enrich and support deeper learning while transforming the classroom experience for each and every student.
In a tech-driven society, teachers play a key role in preparing students for the future. While technology does not replace teaching, it does provide teachers with the ability to simplify the understanding of the subjects they teach. It can also make teachers more influential and serve as an aide in strengthening bonds, thus contributing to a more personal learning experience.
Although technology plays a key role in personalized learning, it’s the teachers' cultivation of the technology in the classroom that leads to success.
Today’s teachers have access to a vast selection of programs and apps that redefine the learning student learning experiences. For example, with Skype and Google Earth, students can connect with people and places thousands of miles away. Another example is Seesaw; a platform where students can place all of their work in a central location, which makes it easily accessible for them and their family members. The program makes it simple for parents to be involved in their children’s schooling.
No doubt, techno-fluency and a digitally-rich learning environment are key to the development of 21st century skills. Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons why students need personalized learning experiences.
Prepares For Success
Strong social and emotional skills are vital for success in college. Personalized learning geared toward developing such skills and consistently aligned to rigorous college-and-career- ready standards deserves a strong presence in modern classrooms. This is critical in preparing and ensuring success for every student in today’s global knowledge-based society. This approach is highly-favored over traditional learning methods because it encourages students to speak up and express what their interests are; giving them a voice and a choice in their educational journey, thus teaching self-advocacy skills.
Unlike traditional learning where students are grouped together by age and apparent ability, taught and tested, and then told to move on, personalized learning allows students to master the material before moving on to the next subject, thus increasing the chances of each student having the knowledge, skills and mindsets they need to be successful and lead prosperous lives.
Personalized learning is customized and may be a mix of several learning methods. Students design their own learning path based on their interests and the learning methods that best suit their needs. For instance, a student may partake in small groups, independent learning or one-on-one tutoring in order to master a particular skill or subject. Of course, this results in each student’s schedule looking very unique.
In addition, schools may use flexible-learning environments to customize the learning approach, such as the physical set up of classrooms. One example is the popular strategy of offering flexible seating to students. With flexible seating, the classroom is focused on the student’s choice and comfort of seating. The goal is to make students feel at home and comfortable by using various seating objects, such as couches, rugs, folding chairs, desks and bean bag chairs.
Most students will utilize a variety of learning styles when learning. In order to maximize a student’s learning potential, each student’s strengths and interests must be identified. Within a personalized learning model, each student has an individual up-to-date learner profile created. It records each student’s strengths, needs, goals and progress. Setting short- and long-term goals help students take ownership of their learning experience. Monitoring student profiles ensures that struggling students receive help sooner rather than later when falling behind. Teachers can easily assess and identify areas where a learning method or goal needs to be modified. This approach allows students to work at their own pace and provides opportunities for students to move forward or to take additional time based on their level of mastery.
Most parents recognize and acknowledge that the world is rapidly changing. They understand their children need to possess certain knowledge and skills to be successful in the future. They are also quick to recognize that their children are unique and special. Personalized learning encourages collaboration between the school, student, parent and community.
In order to maximize a student’s learning potential, each student’s strengths and interests must be identified.
Learning doesn’t always have to take place within the four walls of the classroom. Teachers can adjust their teaching methods to ensure each child is receiving instruction based on their preferred learning styles. This gives teachers great opportunity to customize their teaching methods based on place-based learning, including through field trips, internships, and other places throughout the community. With technology, teachers can personalize instruction and expand student learning through various digital learning opportunities, as well. A personalized learning environment gives parents a better and deeper understanding of their child’s learning path and greater opportunity for collaboration with teachers and the community. Through frequent communication with parents, teachers can ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the student’s best learning style.
A personalized learning approach gives teachers access to detailed information, such as data and the before-mentioned learner profiles. To make informed instructional decisions, teachers can use the data to measure academic performance. Teachers, students, and parents all have access to the valuable data that is updated on a regular basis. This ensures students and their parents have opportunities to explore and make informed-learning decisions.
The data outlines what the student has learned and what he or she needs to learn. It also provides guidance and informs all parties of what the student will be learning next. Again, this approach encourages and allows the student to take ownership of his or her learning path and provides the family with a more accurate picture of their child’s learning experience.
These are just some of the various reasons why students need personalized learning, but they are among the most significant. Although learning always takes place on a personal level, with a personalized learning approach, students are more engaged in the learning process. The approach provides the flexibility needed to honor every student’s uniqueness, thus better preparing them for the future.