Personalized Learning and Student Achievement

Posted by Christine DanhoffO

March 12, 2018


What if you could offer each of your students their own flexible and customized learning pathway for them to master the content?  As educators, we always want our students to succeed, feel motivated, and be prepared for the future. To help students succeed, many educators implement differentiation and tailored instruction to meet students’ individual needs.  This could be differentiating the content, process, products, or learning environment. With today’s technology, tools, and resources available, this may look quite different than it did twenty or even ten years ago. Now instead of merely “grouping” students based on their needs or offering them a specific location to work, we strive to provide our students’ voice and choice in what, how, when, and where they learn.

 

There are a variety of tools and terms being mentioned out there today that all relate to personalized learning, and all which play a part in increasing student achievement and engagement.  We hear terms such as Future Ready and College and Career Readiness that cause us to rethink what we are offering our students to help them master the content and achieve their goals.

 

Some of the ways to provide students with a flexible and personalized learning path include:

 

  • Offering blended learning environments
  • providing students the opportunity to create in a Makerspace environment
  • implementing Genius Hour for students to explore what they are passionate about
  • providing a choice board for students to choose what tasks they complete
  • implementing project-based learning and design thinking

 

There are so many different ways we can help students be successful that go well beyond mastering an assessment with a good grade.  Preparing students to be successful adults in today’s society includes providing them opportunities to practice real-world skills like collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, and reflection.  When we offer students voice and choice in what, how, when, and where they learn, they are much more likely to feel empowered, engaged and motivated, which in turn leads to a growth in student achievement.

 

Empowering students and providing personalized learning opportunities begins with the willingness of a district, administrator, teacher, or other support staff to have the vision and the willingness to stay up-to-date, continue moving forward in today’s society, as well as offering students the opportunities to ask questions, explore, collaborate, and create.   Students, in turn, will feel motivated, confident, and ready to take on the tasks in front of them in the classroom and their life. Every district, school, and content-area may look different in how personalized learning paths are offered to students, but the overall goal is the same. We want to increase student achievement and prepare our students for the future and life-long learning.  If we offer students a flexible, personalized learning path, just imagine what they can do and where they will go in their life!

 

Professional development should be personalized, too!

 

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