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Five Ways to Succeed with Personalized Learning

by Miguel Guhlin
Photo by Arthur Lambillotte on Unsplash

Ready to bring about transformation in your school district? As principal or department head, you’ve embraced personalized learning (PL). But now, you need to learn how to speed up its adoption and full integration. In this blog entry, we’ll revisit personalized learning. You will see successful strategies aligned to the research and best practices. See how technology can make adoption of PL faster.

Defining Personalized Learning

PL is not one-size-fits-all learning. It represents a diverse program encompassing a wide variety of instructional approaches. The strategies seek to address students’ individual needs. All educational programs, learning experiences, instructional approaches ,and academic support strategies are available. It’s all about whatever works best for enhancing student-centered learning.

What Is Best for You?

The role of educators in personalized learning environment has shifted (Source: iNACOL). The shift puts educators in the roles of mentors, coaches, and learning facilitators. More to the point, students take ownership and assume control of their learning, which means that learning becomes grounded in students’ interests and passions. Approaches like differentiated instruction and personalized learning plans become critical. What’s more, project-based learning and eportfolios aligned to standards-based knowledge and skills predominate.

A Splash of Cold Water: New Research Findings

However, a new research report reveals challenges about making personalized learning a reality. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded a study via CRPE. The results splash cold water on successful adoption of personalized learning in schools. The study focused on two questions:

  • How do teachers and principals go about designing and implementing personalized learning approaches?
  • How does the organization’s environment support or impede school-level innovation and its spread?

In the report, the authors assert:

  • Personalized learning implementation efforts were not systemic or systematic. These efforts were not blended into the existing system.
  • Teachers and principals lacked what they needed to install PL-motivated classroom practices.
  • Principals failed to provide coordination to convert teacher innovations into replicable, campus practices.

Cooperation stimulates the human brain. (Source). “Human beings have evolved to get pleasure from cooperation,” says Dr. Robert Sussman. Achieving personalized learning, therefore, must involve cooperation.

Make PL a Reality

Are you ready to make personalized learning a reality? Take these report recommendations to heart. To assist you, find specific tips below. Each will help amplify your awareness of the necessary steps. Follow these steps to make personalized learning a reality on your campus. Let’s get started.

1-Embed Coaching Supports

Read the research on coaching? If you haven’t, you need to move to adopt coaching at your organization. Here are a few TCEA resources to get you started and moving in the right direction.

  • The Power of Video Coaching: Video coaching for professional learning is much easier. Learn how to put in place coaching to transform teaching and learning.
  • Coaching Made Less Difficult: Embrace the power of collegial coaching and set up mentees and coaches for success.
  • Effective Peer Coaching Tips and Resources: Peer coaching is a growing trend. It can help teachers integrate technology to engage students. Take advantage of these tips and resources to get started at your campus.

These three coaching resources provide all you need to embed coaching supports. With these supports in place, you can begin the journey towards personalized learning.

2-Change Management Support

Managing any new system can be dangerous as leaders face tough challenges. Being grounded in change management theory remains critical. Personalized learning represents a destruction of the old system. Here are a few TCEA blog entries to scaffold your change efforts:

3-Adopt Knowledge Management Strategies

Knowledge sharing remains a key tenet of successful organizations. The knowledge management process focuses on creating, sharing, using ,and managing knowledge and information. Often this information and knowledge is only in the heads of one or two people. Externalize that knowledge for longevity.

Most schools lack continuity of purpose. Embrace these simple practices and technologies to make knowledge sharing do-able. Technologies include:

Tools abound. Make the commitment to engage in meta-thinking about school and district practices.

4-Establish Communities of Practice

Creating communities of practice can be easier with today’s tools. Two reliable tools include:

  • Microsoft Teams: This provides one-stop shopping for all your meeting needs from live video/audio chat and text on your computer and smartphone to embedded content. You can even create professional learning communities (PLCs). Combine PLCs based in Teams with a OneNote Staff Notebook.
  • Google Classroom: Use Google Classroom within the Google Suites for Education.

Extra, free tools like Microsoft Forms or Google Forms can make data collection easier.

5-Seek Out Innovation Partners

Ready to expand your personalized learning initiative? Partner with individuals and organizations that are adept at personalized learning. Here are a few to start with:

Embrace Innovative Learning

Be sure to join us at the Innovative Learning Strategies conference for a learning experience focused on the intersection of strong pedagogy and technology integration. Sessions will share the best teaching practices and research-based strategies around innovative technology trends will be elaborated on.

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