Posted December 1, 2016 – AWE Learning Staff
As America’s population increases in diversity and expands in academic and language needs, the incorporation of personalized learning strategies offers unique opportunities for early childhood development. Personalized learning allows teachers to assess students’ strengths and needs to create learning plans that are aligned to their interests. It also focuses on academic standards to cater to the needs of each young learner in the classroom.
With traditional learning, the teacher is the leader and the student is the passive recipient of information. With personalized learning, however, the student is the leader, while the teacher acts as the activator and the advisor. This collaboration allows the young learner to take ownership of his or her own experience. It also empowers the teacher by working to help identify the young learner’s passions and interests.
According to a survey of teachers conducted by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, components of personalized learning include:
– Student agency, defined as the capacity and inclination to take purposeful initiatives in their learning to achieve the conditions they desire
- Differentiated instruction
- Immediate instructional interventions and support, when needed
- Flexible pacing
- Individual student profiles
- Deeper learning and problem solving to develop meaning
- Frequent feedback from instructors and peers
- Standards-based, world-class knowledge and skills
- Anywhere learning
- Performance-based assessments
Personalized learning puts the student at the center. Strategies and content are dependent upon the strengths and weaknesses of the individual, as well as his or her prior knowledge and mastery on the subject. Personalized learning advances children at their own pace to meet their needs and skill-level. For example, if a child is learning literacy skills, it would be unreasonable to begin teaching blends and digraphs if they are unable to identify letter sounds.
Schools, school systems, and technology also help to contribute to the success of personalized learning. Schools and leadership teams can enable more flexible teaching and learning strategies to be used in the classroom, rather than traditional textbook based curriculum. Administrators can build school autonomy, support, and accountability to introduce innovative learning environments.
Additionally, the incorporation of digital learning technology within a classroom has moved instruction away from the “one-size-fits-all” model that uses a single, broad strategy. Digital learning tools and blended learning strategies can provide student performance assessments and real-time student feedback. These formative assessments help teachers to by identify and correct any misconceptions before advancing onto the next topic or skill.
Through the personalized learning approach, children are able to advance at their own pace after demonstrating mastery. This approach also provides opportunities for young learners to develop skills and successful habits, such as self motivation and persistence. At its core, success is built on the student-teacher bond that is enhanced by the incorporation of personalized learning.