When you create an environment where learning is personal for each learner, your role as a teacher changes.
So what does personalized learning really mean?
Personalized learning means it starts with learners having a voice and choice in how they learn. They create their Personal Learner Profile using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) lens determining how they learn best indicating their strengths, challenges, aspirations, interests, and talents.
It is not about teaching subjects, curriculum, or standards. It is about learners learning how to learn -- how to think for themselves -- to problem solve. The teachers we talk to who are letting go and encouraging learner voice and choice have changed their learning environment and role as teacher. They see and share how learners are taking responsibilities and ownership for their learning. These teachers are finding that they will never go back to traditional teaching methods.
Blended learning means offering a combination of face-to-face and online learning opportunities to learners. Blending these learning opportunities can contribute to personalizing learning. However, blended learning is not the only approach that personalizes learning. Personalizing learning starts with the learner. This means that learners have a stake in their learning by taking responsibility for their learning. When they own and drive their learning, they are more motivated to want to learn. In a learning environment that starts with the learner, teacher and learner roles change.
The research at the Students at the Center (studentsatthecenter.org) wrote nine reports on student-centered learning. Eric Toshalls, Ed.D., and Michael Nakkula, Ed.D. in one report, wrote the research on “Learning Theory: Motivation, Engagement and Student Voice” that described:
The Trifecta of Student Centered Learning
Motivation - Without motivation, there is no push to learn Engagement - Without engagement, there is no way to learn Voice - Without voice, there is no authenticity in learning
“For students to create a new knowledge, to succeed academically, and to develop into healthy adults, they require each of these experiences.” -Toshalls and Nakkula
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Personalized learning as described in the research at Brown is built on the framework of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) that is based upon decades of brain-research and neuroscience of individual differences, human variability and on how we learn. UDL is often thought about how it relates to special education, but to dispel that myth, the UDL principles is about how we understand how every learner learns.
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