Four Ways to Make Personalised Learning a Reality

One topic where there is general agreement across the world’s education community about the desired direction for both teaching and learning is the personalisation approach. To be successful, schools need to focus on more than just improving academic outcomes. They also need to help students develop as leaders and thinkers by engaging them in a meaningful way through technology.

One topic where there is general agreement across the world’s education community about the desired direction for both teaching and learning is the personalisation approach. The shift away from a one-size-fits-all method has caught the attention of teachers, who are drawn to its potential to encourage genuine student engagement as it may help students engage their passions, skills, and needs.

We know that early learners begin to personalise their learning in preschool or pre-kindergarten when teachers and parents encourage children’s curiosity with open-ended materials. Later in primary school, personalised options might include setting goals based on interest areas, choice of topics and personalisation of the learning process.

As learners progress through secondary school, personalised programmes must be expanded to include a variety of options that reflect their personal interests and passions. This could also include an option for early engagement in career pathways. Personalised learning is not just about students having more choice over what they learn but also how they learn it. In some cases, personal digital assistants (PDAs), tablets or other mobile devices can provide access to resources from any location at any time, thus removing geographical barriers. Learners should have opportunities to engage with each other around shared interests so they can work collaboratively on projects at home or online – whether remotely or in their local community via cyber-based online education networks.

By personalising the learning process, students will feel more ownership of their education. Personalised learning also requires personalised assessments or formative evaluations. These techniques are ideal for identifying whether learners are achieving personal goals and can help to inform future personalised options.

Personalized assessment, on the other hand, records the student’s development over time and ensures that his or her personal goals are met through evidence-based plans rather than relying on teachers’ subjective opinions about what a child understands. This enables teachers to personalise instruction even further by determining how best to support every individual student in every class.

Adopting a personalised learning approach across the school requires strong leadership that supports teacher engagement, professional development and collaboration. An approach that equips all students with the necessary skills and knowledge they need to thrive in our ever growing personalised & digital world will go a long way toward improving student learning.

However, this is only one part of the picture. In today’s globalised world, students must also learn to collaborate across cultures as well as engage in critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Teachers play a vital role in encouraging students’ curiosity and teaching them some of the skills that will equip them for personal success not just academic proficiency. Teachers may do so by establishing a culture of high expectations in which all students feel valued, supported, and involved every day at school, whether it’s through more innovative curricula or collaborative learning methods.

When teachers have access to high-quality professional development opportunities, they are better equipped to foster the learning process for their students. Furthermore, once completed some training, they need time to improve their instruction through coaching and mentoring cycles by an instructional leader or mentor. School leaders must also collaborate with colleagues to ensure that personalised options are available in every classroom at every year level no matter the school’s size, budget or location. Teachers and principals should share best practices so that effective solutions can be scaled up quickly across the educational community.

Personalised learning is becoming an increasingly important way to meet the needs of each and every student. By personalising instruction, assessment, and learning content, students feel more ownership over their education and are more likely to achieve their academic goals. To make personalised learning a reality in your school, strong leadership is essential. Teachers need access to high-quality professional development opportunities so they can be best equipped to foster the individualised learning process for their students. Furthermore, collaboration among teachers is vital in order to ensure that personalised options are available at all grade levels and subjects. With the right tools and support, personalised learning can benefit every student – regardless of age, location or interests.

Author: Dr Jake Madden

Jake Madden (Dip Teach; B.Ed; Grad Dip: Leadership; M. Ed: Leadership; EdD; FACEL; MACE) Dr. Jake Madden is currently the Principal, St Edward’s Primary School, Tamworth. He has enjoyed a successful teaching and principal leadership career over the last thirty years building teacher capacity through the development of learning in the contemporary world, the promotion of flexible learning spaces to meet the needs of the 21st century learner and curriculum for global mindedness. Jake is a leader in the notion of teacher-as-researcher and is widely published in this area, authoring and co-authoring books and a number of journal articles showcasing his experiences and research into leading educational change.

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