What I know about personalized learning is…

This is an interesting prompt because it is very open-ended, and it would be difficult to describe everything I know about personalized learning in one document. Not because I'm especially knowledgeable about personalized learning, but because our school has been working to personalize learning for a few years and I've been working on personalizing the learning experience before that.

Personalized learning is a way of customizing the learning experience for the learner. There are a variety of ways to do this. For example, when I taught face-to-face, I flipped my classroom. I created units with learning objectives based on the standards for the course (physics) and created videos tied to each learning objective (example unit attached in Dropbox). Students could watch the videos at home (along with guided notes) and we would work practice problems, take formative assessments to gauge their progress, and conduct labs during class time. The students could watch the videos at home as slowly or quickly as they liked, as few or as many times as they liked, and could use the guided notes I provided or not. The practice problems were scaffolded from easy to difficult and they could complete as many as they needed to feel comfortable with the material. They also had 2-3 attempts on each formative assessment, and I was available to walk them through any problems they missed, clarifying misconceptions as we went along. There were many ways the learning experience was personalized for my students, even though we didn't call it personalized learning at the time. We called it "differentiated instruction".

Everything was accessed through an LMS, and each unit looked like this:

*Note: I last used this 2015-2016. Learning Management Software has come a long way since then ;-)

In my online classroom, personalized learning looked a little different. Students could read through the content as many times as they liked and could move as fast as they wanted through the content (we do, however, require a minimum pacing). We offer extra resources for students and synchronous learning sessions for those that need it. Of course, online learning itself is also a way of personalizing learning for the student. Many of our online students prefer online learning for a variety of reasons - medical, pacing, athletics, etc.

We are, however, working on improving the learning experience for our students. One way I'd love to do this is by having the students defend their learning. I first was exposed to this idea during the Gre4t Convening over the summer. The students prepared websites and other media to "prove" to others what they learned in their classes. It was incredible to see them take responsibility for their learning in this way.

So, I know of various ways we can personalize learning, but I'm looking forward to learning more and thinking about how these methods can be applied not only in our courses with students, but also in our training courses, which is the focus of my current position at Georgia Virtual.