Jill Hobson: Personalized Learning and Feedback
Personalized learning has certainly reached trending status in the education community. The phrase is being used in many places with many different definitions. For instance, the U.S. Department of Education, in its 2010 Educational Technology Plan, defines personalized learning as “Instruction paced to the learning needs, tailored to the learning preferences and to the specific interests of different learners.” The USED’s definition makes note that it encompasses both differentiation and individualization.
In comparison, the Center for Digital Education in its special report called “Pathways to Personalized Learning” has defined personalized learning as “the tailoring of pedagogy, curriculum and learning environments, to meet the needs and aspirations of individual learners, typically with the support of technology.” The CDE concludes the power of personalize learning is to excite students by turning on their “learning switches.” And Knowledge Works has created an infographic entitled A Glimpse into the Future of Learning. It “points the way toward a diverse learning ecosystem in which learning adapts to each child instead of each child trying to adapt to school.”
This is the definition of personalized learning we’re using throughout our strategy work at Promethean and with ClassFlow: “Personalization is the customization of activities based on learning style, learning preference and educational need. Personalization exists on a continuum from uniform activity to fully individualized activity and references the work of various groups such as students, teachers, parents and school leaders.”
Here are some personalized learning procedural steps that may apply:
The teacher provides a variety of content types from which students can choose.
- The teacher uses achievement data to adjust class instruction.
- The learning space is arranged so that students can choose among a pre-selected set of resources and tools to complete teacher- and student-designed tasks.
- Teaching and learning are focused on applying understanding, where content, or process, or product is varied for students.
- The teacher uses achievement data, or knowledge of student interests to individualize learning opportunities.
- The learning space is arranged so that the students can access different content, or resources based on the assigned learning task.
- Students use data to inform their learning process.
- The teacher uses student input in the variations of content, process and product.
- The learning space includes robust access to a wide variety of tools, sources of information, and the ability to publish new content; students use these as needed throughout the learning process.
Remember the role of assessment for learning and little data.
While in a quest for personalized learning, it needs to be remembered that perhaps the most critical aspect of the teaching and learning process is formative assessment, or assessment for learning. More recently the term “little data” has been used to describe the information that teachers and students get from assessment for learning. Technology can be such a powerful tool, not only for personalizing learning, but also to aide in the process of gathering that necessary little data.
ClassFlow has a number of features for discovering the power of personalized learning and gathering that little data. The ability to view results in real-time gives teachers the opportunity to adjust learning in the moment for each student, or an entire classroom. Another great feature are the feedback options. By offering feedback on incorrect responses, students can immediately learn from their mistakes, adjust, and modify their responses.
About the Author
Jill Hobson is a former school leader, and is currently an Education Strategist who is an educator and instructional technology advocate, who continues to seek what works best for students and teachers in the new learning environments of today’s classrooms–and beyond. Look for her presentations at national education conferences.